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)
The narrator does a fantastic performance for all of the characters. The story is very interesting, but I must admit I felt it didn't exactly reach its full potential. But I still enjoyed it and so did a friend who is extremely not technology oriented.
not really -- but might become the new Orwell 1984 to some
nice voice, good reader, one of the best i've heard, actually
I really listened to this almost non-stop, though I was annoyed by the reader, who read too fast, and there was no way to slow it down without distorting the voice. It is scary to think that young college graduates like the 'heroine' of this novel can acquire millions of followers through messaging, and photographing everything. In this modern world of cameras on city-streets and at every traffic light, smartphones that are everywhere, the Google-glasses, Insta-grams, Twitter, and everything we do online ourselves with Facebook and Amazon, and the fact that what we do on these internet connected sites is being watched, it is a credible step to The Circle.
How fast one single young woman is persuaded that she was important to the world scheme of her bosses, and how she was an important entity in connecting the world through a Google-like private company. Lots of people already believe that positioning of cameras is essential to preventing crimes, or at least apprehending criminals already. Is transparency a good thing, or not?
I was caught up in it, and for the first time couldn't stop listening, though I found the speed of the narrator a shade fast for my old ears. Just a shade too fast, as I understand the need to move it along.
That name is good enough. I am not clever enough to think of another.
I will not reveal any of the most important, dramatic happenings. You will have to read it yourself to see how the story evolves, or devolves.
A dystopian novel set in the now where current events and habits are taken to a whole new scary level. All of it seems feasible which makes it all the more compelling. There are some stretches with deep sea life living in un-pressurized tanks at the surface but not wanting to give spoilers just sit back and pretend it is possible, it is a fiction novel and in my eyes lets not let reality get in the way of a good story. It has the feel of George Orwell's 1984 with the protagonists from Ayn Rand's Fountainhead. Loved it! One book Ill come back to to read again.
The book was an extremely fun read -- fast paced, exciting and surprising. A little scary given they way society is headed. The characters are well formed and interesting -- but not too serious, so it does not feel like medicine even though it is making us look hard at the future. Delicious!
The concept behind the book is great and it's very relevant to today. Worth a read from the standpoint that it brings up some good questions that we should all be thinking about in this age of digital communication and sharing.
Can't really think of one. The plot moves in circles, so characters seem to be in the same places over and over again -- which, granted might be part of the point that the author is trying to make. That being said, it still makes for a less than enthralling listen.
No, I think we got it. I think it could have been trimmed by about 20% as well.
If you have any familiarity or concerns with privacy and social networking, then you can see where the story line is going from a mile away. The numbers in the book (followers, communication pings, time) is way off base to the point of being distracting.
Dave Eggers The Circle is an updated look at a not so distant future when an omniscient overlord is all intrusive. Is it for good or evil? Unlike 1984 where the omnipresent TV eye was the government these eyes and ears are corporate aided and abetted by all those in the Circle. The Circle is a ubiquitous Facebook infused with a religious fervor summed up with the phrase “privacy is criminal.” Mae is so enthusiastic about letting people into her life she “goes transparent” wearing a camera and microphone broadcasting to the world except for bathroom breaks. Her wrist sensor in addition to monitoring all bodily functions also tracks how many people are watching. Stamping out privacy becomes a crusade for her. Mae’s ex-boyfriend is completely disgusted with the hive like mentality of the Circle and tells her he is going to live in the woods, off the information grid, hidden. No such luck. With the ability to capture millions of people’s attention and their support in locating him, Mae finds him in a few minutes. He’s angry. Not unlike the savage in Brave New World, he rejects the "modernity" of completely open access of a linked life.
This an interesting book. Sure, it’s a rehash of quite a few ideas and books but it is original in using a linked and transparent world through an internet medium to demonstrate that Google’s “do no harm” vision can have the opposite impact. Think of all those Google vehicles cruising neighborhoods taking pictures of everything being replaced by personal $59 cameras placed everywhere with 2 year battery lives on all the time. The world is live, there is no privacy. Closing the Circle is the aim of the coterie of Circle founders. Unlike Arthur C. Clarke’s vision of a connected world leading to a super organism in Childhood’s End closing the Circle is a much darker vision more akin to Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We.
This booke held my interest on a series of long flights. I was dissapointed by the ending and the obvious use of allegory between the sea creatures and the circle, but I found it interesting enough throughout that I would rate it very good. The performance was very good.
i like to read. i like to listen.
when i read "heartbreaking work of...blah blah blah" i vowed i'd never read another eggers book. but this, being a novel, and being of the variety i prefer to read, and having such great buzz, i gave it a try. so glad i broke my own rule. this book was great.
Mae was such a great awful character. i loved and hated her, so much. loved how terrible every decision she made was, how vulnerable she was, how cringe-worthy her inner thoughts were. loved how she never disappointed in being awful. i loved that she was, truly, the ultimate go-getter...even though the "getting" was often at the expense of everyone else in her life. i hated her because...well....she's really quite hateable.
the novel overall was written so well...it kept me emotional the entire time i was reading. emotions like anger, frustration, shock, annoyance and mirth. i laughed out loud at so many parts of this book, i can't even tell you. (i can tell you, however, that i don't laugh at books...so i kept surprising myself). Mercer's dialogue amused me the most...i found his observations and social commentary quite hysterical, probably because in this book full of absurdly blind followers -- his was the voice of reason and reality.
i feel that my problem with eggers previously might have been the memoir genre? i will be trying another novel of his soon...hoping to be as pleased as i was with these results.
As a member of the silicon valley tech culture, I really enjoyed this book showing the extreme of a company that pushes it's invasive software to the total extremes. I thought the NY Times criticism of the book complaining that the author seemed to have an incomplete understanding of the differences between an OS and a social website missed the mark. I understand the difference, but I still really enjoyed the story of this company (which I think sounds remarkably like Google) that went from being a social site to essentially taking over every aspect of people's lives. The only flaw, in this story as well as others that paint a picture of the all-threatening "Big Brother", is that even the most pernicious organizations show massive incompetence when it comes down to the details, but "the Circle" Incorporated seems to have mastered every level of expertise, never making a mistake. Not on this planet....
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