Review: The Circle – Dave Eggers

the-circleSynopsis: When Mae 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. Run out of a sprawling California campus, the Circle links users’ personal emails, social media, and finances with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of transparency. Mae can’t believe her great fortune to work for them – 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 …

Title: The Circle
Author: Dave Eggers
Publisher: Penguin
Pub Date: 15th October 2014
Pages: 512
ISBN: 9780241146507

Rating: 5stars

Imagine a world where everything you did was recorded, stored in the cloud and available to all; your ancestry; your school test results; the foods in your fridge; even your vote. A world of complete transparency, where secrets are lies and community is truly global.

Sound terrifying? Then you’ll love this book. This is the modern-day version of 1984 by George Orwell or, at least, how a totalitarian society would come to be.

I should probably have given this book 3 or 4 stars, the writing is simple and the characters fall flat. The protagonist is frustratingly empty and one-dimensional; she believes anything you say and abandons her morals with the slightest persuasion. Is she is meant to convey how submissive we can become when things get too far? I haven’t read enough of Eggers to answer but, however flat the protagonist falls, it works for this story.

Further negatives are the predictable ending and the apparent lack of research about tech companies. Despite all of this, The Circle is hugely enjoyable. It’s not meant to be an accurate account of a historical event, it’s not meant to have classical prose that will sweep you off your feet; it’s what you think about whilst reading that counts.

The Circle was, for me, terrifying. There were countless times that I stopped and thought ‘That could actually happen pretty soon. People would actually fall for that.’ and became more perturbed as I went on. I even started looking at how I interact with the internet, do I tweet too much? Do I Instagram everything without even looking at / appreciating what I’m taking a photo of? Should I even have a blog?!

All in all this is a brilliant, gripping read from start to finish and one that I would recommend to everyone. If you want a masterpiece, then read 1984, but for a good, modern-day twist on an old classic, then this is for you.

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