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The Circle | [Dave Eggers]

The Circle

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

“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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (912 )
5 star
 (227)
4 star
 (349)
3 star
 (238)
2 star
 (66)
1 star
 (32)
Overall
3.7 (841 )
5 star
 (214)
4 star
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3 star
 (221)
2 star
 (89)
1 star
 (32)
Story
4.0 (830 )
5 star
 (292)
4 star
 (313)
3 star
 (154)
2 star
 (43)
1 star
 (28)
Performance
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  •  
    J. Kirkland Douglass Lenexa, KS USA 10-12-13
    J. Kirkland Douglass Lenexa, KS USA 10-12-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    86
    2
    FOLLOWERS
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    1
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    Story
    "Juvenile writing"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Interesting plot concept. Characters are 2 dimensional and the dialog is awful. Might be good for young teen reading.


    Has The Circle turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Love the genre. This just wasn't written well.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Dion Graham’s performances?

    Book was bad. Hard to evaluate the reader as he had poor material with which to work.


    What character would you cut from The Circle?

    All of them.


    Any additional comments?

    Heroine comes from the imagination of a 9 year old. And if I heard "he said" and "she said" one more time........

    2 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer SAN CARLOS, CA, United States 06-14-14
    Amazon Customer SAN CARLOS, CA, United States 06-14-14 Member Since 2009

    Avid marathoner and hi tech market analyst. Lover of Ken Follett, Christopher Moore, Timothy Zahn and any book that pulls me in.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    23
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    62
    25
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    3
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    Story
    "Great core concept - poor execution"

    The core concept in this book was great. Loved the lead character and the company founder but it sort of devolved into a typical mystery story. Too bad because the first half of the book had real promise. Oh well.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gail Austin, TX, United States 06-06-14
    Gail Austin, TX, United States 06-06-14 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    52
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Better as a Short Story"
    Would you try another book from Dave Eggers and/or Dion Graham?

    No


    Would you ever listen to anything by Dave Eggers again?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    I really liked the inspiration for the story and the plot. Perfect ending as well. That drug me through listening to the poorly done and far to repetitious dialog. The narration was good.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anne Modesto, California, United States 04-22-14
    Anne Modesto, California, United States 04-22-14 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    33
    ratings
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    316
    11
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    "The Circle"

    Very interesting premise. Mostly liked the characters and situations. Completely plausible but wow, I have never read anything this didactic. The speechifying just went on and on. Though I don't think it's wonderful writing, I do think it's alright speculative fiction and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the current debates about privacy and the proliferation of social media.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ellen De Pere, WI, United States 03-17-14
    Ellen De Pere, WI, United States 03-17-14 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    62
    ratings
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    20
    10
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    FOLLOWING
    3
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    Performance
    Story
    "Disappointing and predictable"

    I'm a big Dave Eggers fan but I was disappointed in this. The plot is predictable and hangs on the unbelievable gullibility of the main character, who continues to buy the company line at The Circle instead of the voices of friends and family despite only having been at the Circle for a few short weeks. Yes, it's a warning, but I'm not sure what the warning is. Should we fear the brainwashing effect of invasive technology? Are we all sheep? Do we have to fear the Circle or stupid people?

    And I'm sorry, I didn't get into the narration either. Dion Graham portrays every young man with a sinusy nerdy voice, and every young female talks quickly and has a faint Valley Girl upswing to the ends of sentences.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicholas United States 01-27-14
    Nicholas United States 01-27-14 Member Since 2008

    ntode

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    85
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Terrible reader - predictable oversimplified story"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Probably not. The story had promise, but fell short as it was overly simplistic. Also the reader was really poor.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    The book ends abruptly. There is a bit of a twist at the end, but then the book tries to wrap up a few loose ends too quickly. It's clear this book was written in hopes that a sequel could be made.


    What didn’t you like about Dion Graham’s performance?

    Terrible


    Could you see The Circle being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Yes, but hopefully it would be made more interesting.


    Any additional comments?

    This story has a lot of promise. The basic idea is solid, but the book never deals with some of the key factors that may make practices of "the circle" essentially impossible in the real world. I kept thinking that real people wouldn't just blindly go along with all of the things that happen in the book. The book reads like a rough draft. About 30 percent should have been removed or rewritten to make it more interesting and more believable.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Evan M. Rodriguez Santa Barbara, CA USA 01-17-14
    Evan M. Rodriguez Santa Barbara, CA USA 01-17-14 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Kind of off the mark"
    Would you try another book from Dave Eggers and/or Dion Graham?

    I loved "A Heart breaking work of staggering Genius." The characters didn't need any help sounding clueless or stupid, so Graham may have overdone it. I might try another with fewer characters.


    What was most disappointing about Dave Eggers’s story?

    It had a disappointing grasp on the tech world for a book that wanted to be a grand cautionary tale.


    What character would you cut from The Circle?

    I would definitely cut Mercer.


    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew PRAIRIE GROVE, AR, United States 01-05-14
    Matthew PRAIRIE GROVE, AR, United States 01-05-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    56
    28
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    1
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    Story
    "Punishment for the Intelligent"
    Any additional comments?

    Oh thank goodness I finished the book. It's finally over.

    Even though this really is my kind of book, I hated it. I love a good slice of life book. And books with evil corporations or no real plot are often deliciously entertaining. This book sadly was not. It promised a lot and delivered on none. I was excited about this book before it was released, then saw the love it or hate it review and decided against reading it. Then when my cousin said it would be a good discussion book, so I decided to start it after all.

    It was a good discussion book (he liked it a lot more than me though) and that is all that kept this from being a 1 star. And here is why I disliked it:

    First, let's talk about the main character, Mae. I expected there to be something in the free food or free drinks given at the Circle, I expected this eventual unsurprising revelation. It didn't happen, so I can only conclude that it is terrible writing and a horribly unlikeable character. You can say she is naive, but that is too innocent of a word. She is irrational, idiotic, blind, stubborn, possibly masochistic, and most certainly mentally deficient (this is key because I'm pretty sure Eggers looked up a mental or social disorder for every character in the book and then based the character around it. Think about that, would that make likable characters? Maybe, but not in this case). There are multiple parts of the book where she starts to become rational and make good decisions, or realize what exactly is happening around her. She never does. Instead she is a good little cult member that perpetuates the giant mental Ponzi Scheme of the Circle. Even when everyone she knows and cares about leaves her through obvious faults of her own. Really, you just spend the whole book expecting her to make just one good decision, but alas, you are left wanting.

    Second let's talk about the story, or lack there of. I have had several books that I love that don't really have any overarching story, so this is not a fault of this book. But what is a fault is that between 50 and 66% of the book is nothing more than long overwritten, drawn-out advertisement for new Circle innovations that initially seem like good ideas, but to anyone that has two rocks to rub together for braincells will understand the horrid implications of. Now think, do you want to spend ten hours watching Apple or Google announce new endeavors with the promise of never being able to use them? No? Really? Okay, don't start this book.

    So when the book isn't advertising imaginary works or we aren't watching Mae live in her fantasy world of asinine decisions, we are left with Dave Eggers. Oh I know there were "messages" in this. They are quite clear. Clear as a sledgehammer beating. Yes, I get it, we as a society are headed towards an extinction of privacy. OH WAIT! Remember when Zuckerberg said that he was essentially declaring war on privacy? Remember how bad of a backlash he got for that? So shush you Eggers. How about our constant need to share everything-- You know what, I'm not even going to get into all his messages that were blunt, exaggerated, and preachy. Save yourself the time, go read 1984.

    I don't recommend this book.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aaron Johnstown, PA, USA 01-05-14
    Aaron Johnstown, PA, USA 01-05-14 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    44
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The other 3-star reviews describe it well"
    Any additional comments?

    Important theme and topic but seemed to be written for the young adult audience.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John O'Keefe Stow, MA 01-04-14
    John O'Keefe Stow, MA 01-04-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I don't understand all the hype"
    Would you try another book from Dave Eggers and/or Dion Graham?

    No, I would likely not try another book by this author or performance by this narrator.


    Has The Circle turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No,, just the author.


    What didn’t you like about Dion Graham’s performance?

    Most of the time his performance could be described as "breathless." By this I don't mean exciting I mean that it felt like he was out of breath while reading. Additionally, oftentimes, his performance did not match what was happening in the book based upon contextual statements from the book's actual narrative, for example somebody is described as polished and professional but there was nothing in the performance that would indicate that.


    What character would you cut from The Circle?

    Mae. Her naivete was not credible nor was she, in any way, likable which meant I was at no point rooting for her.


    Any additional comments?

    I read a lot of fantasy and science fiction and as a result I have no issues with willing suspension of disbelief, however the amount of credulity that this book requires around human motivation and reactions is completely inconsistent with reality.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
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