About this Book
The Circle, Dave Eggers
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.
"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." — Dennis K. Berman, The Wall Street Journal
"Fascinating … Eggers appears to run on pure adrenaline, and has as many ideas pouring out of him as the entrepreneurs pitching their inventions in The Circle … [A] novel of ideas … about the social construction and deconstruction of privacy, and about the increasing corporate ownership of privacy, and about the effects such ownership may have on the nature of Western democracy … Like Melville’s Pequod and Stephen King’s Overlook Hotel, the Circle is a combination of physical container, financial system, spiritual state, and dramatis personae, intended to represent America, or at least a powerful segment of it … The Circlers’ social etiquette is as finely calibrated as anything in Jane Austen … Eggers treats his material with admirable inventiveness and gusto … the language ripples and morphs … It’s an entertainment, but a challenging one." — Margaret Atwood, The New York Review of Books
"A parable about the perils of life in a digital age in which our personal data is increasingly collected, sifted and monetized, an age of surveillance and Big Data, in which privacy is obsolete, and Maoist collectivism is the order of the day. Using his fluent prose and instinctive storytelling gifts, Mr. Eggers does a nimble, and sometimes very funny, job of sending up technophiles’ naïveté, self-interest and misguided idealism. As the artist and computer scientist Jaron Lanier has done in several groundbreaking nonfiction books, Mr. Eggers reminds us how digital utopianism can lead to the datafication of our daily lives, how a belief in the wisdom of the crowd can lead to mob rule, how the embrace of ‘the hive mind’ can lead to a diminution of the individual. The adventures of Mr. Eggers’s heroine, Mae Holland, an ambitious new hire at the company, provide an object lesson in the dangers of drinking the Silicon Valley Kool-Aid and becoming a full-time digital ninja … Never less than entertaining … Eggers is such an engaging, tactile writer that the reader happily follows him wherever he’s going … A fun and inventive read." — Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times