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 America–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.
Hi guys! It’s me, Paul, the usual poster at The Galaxial Word. Running a book blog is a bit time consuming, and it can be difficult to read and review books and post regularly. Therefore, I’ve decided to enlist some help! This review is from my friend, Hugo, who also reads just as much as me, and is just as book-obsessed as me 🙂 It’s his first review, so please be nice. Not many people are proud of their first review (I know I’m not!). Anyway, here we go!
This book scared me. A lot. Not as in terrifying nightmare scary, but in a different kind of scary. As in I was scared that everyone was constantly watching what I was doing and that Google was watching my every move. I seriously considered deleting Google Chrome and moving to Yahoo (I know, scandalous!).
First things first, the characters: Mae has just gotten a job at the Circle (basically Google), but things aren’t all what they seem. To me, Mae was annoying, weak and a bit bland. For example, after just arriving at the Circle and being taken to her ‘office’ she starts to cry and swear because it reminds her of her terrible job before the Circle. Apparently her old office had burlap and she can’t stand the sight of it.
How often, outside of the nineteenth century, outside a general store of the nineteenth century, does one encounter burlap? Mae assumed she never would, but then here it was, all around her in this new Circle workspace, and looking at it, smelling its musty smell, her eyes welled up. “F*cking burlap,” she mumbled to herself.
Seriously, she has just landed a job at one of the world’s most powerful companies and all she can do was cry because she doesn’t like the workspace. However, after reading on, I actually found that her character was well suited to the story that was taking place; yes she was annoying, but the idea of someone being the “different” one who knows of everyone’s evil doings but can’t do anything been completely overdone in books similar to this one, and I’m glad that The Circle didn’t go down this path. Mae was manipulated by the Circle, just like they hoped anyone else would. I’m not sure if it was supposed to be that way, but that was something I liked.
From the beginning of the book, you could tell that the Circle was going to have some sinister plan, but it played out a lot differently than I expected. The book was so scary because it seemed so real and likely to happen. It created a world with no privacy, when living a ‘public’ life is the right thing.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable and thrilling read, and I think it was so good because it seemed so real; from the flawed characters to the lifelike horrors of what Google is probably going to do. Seriously. Be scared.
Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 8/10
The Circle is out now. Buy at your local bookstore.
- Title: The Circle
- Author: Dave Eggers
- Hardcover: 508 pages
- Publisher: Knopf (October 8th, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN: 0385351399
- URL: Goodreads