The Circle is the exhilarating new audiobook from Dave Eggers, bestselling author of A Hologram for the King, a finalist for the National Book Award.
When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world's most powerful internet company, she feels she's been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users' personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency.
As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company's modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO.
Mae can't believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world - even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman's ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.
©2013 Dave Eggers (P)2013 Random House Audio
“Eggers's novel begins with an almost giddy tone, re-created perfectly by narrator Dion Graham. Pulling every tool from his kit, Graham describes the inner workings of the world's largest Internet company as it develops a new identity operating system that will allow even easier access by users across different platforms…But--as the listener hears in Graham's increasingly horrified tone--this Google-like utopia quickly becomes a dystopia when Mae realizes what the Circle really has in mind. Listeners will be reminded of Orwell's 1984." (AudioFile)
“A vivid, roaring dissent to the companies that have coaxed us to disgorge every thought and action onto the Web . . . Carries the potential to change how the world views its addicted, compliant thrall to all things digital. If you work in Silicon Valley, or just care about what goes on there, you need to pay attention.” (The Wall Street Journal)
“Page-turning. . . . The social message of the novel is clear, but Eggers expertly weaves it into an elegantly told, compulsively readable parable for the 21st century. . . . What may be the most haunting discovery about The Circle, however, is readers’ recognition that they share the same technology-driven mentality that brings the novel’s characters to the brink of dysfunction. We too want to know everything by watching, monitoring, commenting, and interacting, and the force of Eggers’s richly allusive prose lies in his ability to expose the potential hazards of that impulse.” (Vanity Fair)
I couldn't let this story go! It filled all the free time gaps in my day. I related so much to the early protagonist that going with her on this journey had my heart racing and I was fully engaged, shouting at her to wake up! Soooo eerie and brilliant. Dave Eggers is a genius! I need to read everything he writes now, AND I need to extend my Digital diet and take a serious look at my social media addiction.
Amazing!! Cant recommend enough. The book changed my dreams for technological dominance for the better
It is ingenious.
When she spontaneously took the canoe and went out on the water alone. It was like a final farewell to being a free spirit. She was slowly being sucked dry of every last drop of free will, but she did not know it, not consciously at least.. It was like her one last fling with simple joy, and wonder, before she surrendered....there was this moment of quiet protest from that part of her that was dying.
This is no where near a 5 star book. The 4 star rating is generous. The author is very clever and insightful, even ingenious, just not a great writer. Still this is a must read book. I saw myself and all of us reflected in a magnifying mirror. There were imagines that annoyed me, horrified me, and made me laugh at myself. The book made deep impressions on my psyche. It has become a reference point. My mind refers back to The Circle over and over. Ignore the bad writing. Grit your teeth and jump into it, and keep swimming. You'll see why. We are all Ana.
The book starts off slow and somewhat offputting. But then it begins to build. And then you realize it's like a lobster in a pot of cold water it's begun to boil... Fascinating ideas taken into- sadly- logical extremes and incredible analogies. Well worth reading.
There have been books that I enjoyed more... but not many that were as though-provoking and none so far that have inspired me to action. As a result of this book, I have decided to learn as much as I can about the right to privacy - and to make this one of my legal specialties. People think that if they have nothing to hide, then they have nothing to fear from sharing all of their information. Well that is simply no so - and that is what I want to write about in my legal blog.
I can't really say, without spoiling this book for others - but let me just say that there is a scene in which May's parents right to privacy is sacrified in the most cruel way, and dealt with by May, the protagonist, so briefly, that you suddenly realize that she has lost her basic sense of right and wrong, empathy, and all the qualities that make one human.
It kept me listening even when the book became a little long and predictable.
This is what could happen, if corporate America takes over.... and sadly we are closer than ever.
I was disppointed with the ending - but I guess I had no right to be, as it is probably as realistic an ending as can be expected.
The reason I gave this book 4 (and not 5) is because I found it a bit long and repetitive.
wish it could have been narrated by more than one person. one person for each character would have made the story more clear.
I bought the audio book after the nyt article on Amazon. The story was above average. But the voice performance by Dion Grahm was excellent. Not over the top like some when they shift between accents and tones trying too hard to have the cast's voices to be noticeably different but taking away from the listening experience. But he hit all the voice changes fluidly. Even more impressive was his pace and inflection perfectly meshed with the author's intentions I can only assume.
Not a life changing story but a good story with a great performance. Not a regrettable purchase
Great story. The dialogue helps you understand the unique philosophy driving the plot.
Eggers clearly has some way of seeing the future because so much of The Circle has come to fruition with recent announcements about Google (the Alphabet) and Amazon's "severe" culture.
Definitely a must-read. A cautionary tale for all us to consider before it's too late.
I really enjoyed this book and had high hopes as I do in real life for some ideas or solution of how we fix what we have done. I guess this or just to make us think and have awareness and remember to live a real life....excellent story.
This is such a good book! A friend told me to read it, and although I didn't find it an intellectual challenge, I did find it fascinating and possible. I am one of those people who dread the daily onslaught of e-mails, social media postings and friend requests, both personal and professional. Do we really need to feel "connected" to everybody who asks? This book illustrates how the internet can, and will, take over your life if you allow it! A dystopian future indeed, and it could happen! Great listening.
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