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 very much enjoyed the book's clear-eyed vision of the potential dystopian future which the silicon valley might end up preparing for us. I just found the ending a little abrupt and unimaginative. Dion Graham's vocal performance is extraordinary and really helps bring the book's ominous themes come to life, not to mention the wide range of characters.
The story has a good pace, and the male narrator does an impressive job of expressing a female protagonist. There seem to be a few minor plot gaps (unless I simply missed a detail here and there,) but overall I enjoyed the story and appreciated the ideas it expressed. A very current take on the utopia/dystopia/speculative future fiction genre that acknowledges many of the relevant factors involved in a society's acceptance of domination.
Too many to mention or decide on.
Puts life into the characters. The story feels like it could happen,
It justified my fears of giving too much information away in social media of today. While it sounds good and nice, there is a big downside.
It was entertaining, but I could see Mae giving her life and freedoms away in order to be told what to do. Sad world, but still entertaining read. Looking forward to the movie.
Wow! Amazing read. Most read for today's culture in the US. Constant surveillance gone awry. Check this one out. Scary vision of our possible future.
This book paints a scary vision of what the future could be. Really makes you think about privacy and social media
This book was a well thought out commentary of the complex issues we face brought about by technology. It as though 1984 were re-written and the control factor was fueled by a google meets Facebook world. What is scary is how real this could be and is already becoming.
This was a decent book. I was engaged while listening, but I kept waiting for more of a climax. I liked that the ending wasn't what I was expecting, but it was also kind of abrupt. Overall though, the ideas about the future of technolgy are fascinating and unsettling. I don't regret spending a credit on this. I got through it quickly.
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