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)
Professional journalist, tech writer and editor with three children, now aged 7 and 19 (steptwins). Avid reader and listener.
I'd recommend "The Circle" b/c it's a good, timely listen and it's an engrossing story. Especially in Silicon Valley, where I live, it has great relevance. The parallels to Google and Facebook are worth considering. Every time I open the newspaper and read a story about yet another new innovation on the Google or Facebook campuses, I realize just how prescient this novel was. (And yes, I still read the paper version of "the paper." So indeed, I do "open the newspaper.")
Books, especially audiobooks, are my escape during my commute to and from work.
The thing I love best about The Circle is how it presents a possible future of social media that is both believable and scary.
I liked how the story showed the evolution of the main character, Mae Holland, evolved from being hesitant about social media to being completely enveloped by it. That said there were some moments where the story felt predicable.
Mae Holland, the performer (Dion Graham) did an excellent job of conveying the emotions of the main character.
Privacy is theft
Professional Game Designer | Professor | Creative | I alternate between reading for knowledge and pleasure.
The idea that a massive cult-like technology corporation could sustain itself by perpetuating a set of self serving values is not exactly an outlandish work of fiction.
This book presents a good series of points to ponder about how we use technology and social media to share and live our private lives. Where does the line get drawn between authenticity, disclosure, privacy and publicity. How can the double edged blade of rapidly advancing technology cut off our values and most human moments before we can stop it. I'm no Luddite, quite the contrary- and this story does a good job of making me question my affinity for new and online tech and services. Where does it all lead? Complete the Circle?
This book offers a most enlightening perspective into a least one possible future of our Connected World of the present. There is no Utopia without a dystopia…
I've liked other stuff by Eggers, but I think this is his magnum opus to this point in his career. It's not a dystopian story... it's a dystopia's origin story. It takes it's main character, and the reader, from a near future that is completely believable, step by reasonable, logical step into a horror story. To me that makes this an incredibly valuable book to have out there in the world - paranoid government states like that of 1984 or obviously horrifying, but I at least have always been able to discount them by saying, 'well, that would never really happen.' I'm not sure I can say that after listening to this book.
I think this is the sort of novel that's perfect for an audiobook, as well - the narrator is great, and he compensates for dialogue that reader-reviews have noted as repetitive and obvious. Reader reviews have also noted that the characters seem one-dimensional, but I didn't get that feeling at all - a good reader brings the characters to life and adds dimensions through subtle reading choices. The symbolism is maybe a little obvious, too, which might have seemed condescending in print but I think in audio format you need them to be obvious enough to pick up on them on first listen, at speed.
All in all, I think this is a great, important book. How well it ages probably depends on what actually happens in the future, though.
This story was an aspirational account of where a leading tech company wants to take the world.....to a place of total transparency. Great performance by the narration team.
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