Book Review - The Circle

by Dave Eggers (Hamish Hamilton) ISBN: 9780241146491 


Mae Holland has finished college heavily in debt, but thanks to her friend, Annie, one of the Gang of 40 in The Circle, she is able to leave her awful job and starting working for the most admired company in America. The Circle is a Google-like entity that has overtaken all other social media and Internet companies thanks to its genius founder, Ty Gospodinov, one of the Three Wise Men who own it. He has created a revolutionary universal operating system which gives users one online identity. This gives way to a new age of civility (no more trolls) and transparency.

The Circle is a paradise filled with beautiful office spaces. Employees attend nightly parties, or listen to famous musicians playing on the lawn – a different one every day - or join athletic activities and clubs, and attend endless dinners and brunches. There is medical care, nutritional advice, and everything you could wish for on the campus. Mae has to work hard, and almost obsessively interact within The Circle. 

Life beyond the company grows distant, and after an incident where she is almost arrested, she is more than happy to become the first ‘transparent’ employee at The Circle. She is terrified of losing her job and the health care benefits for her ill father. Her life is placed under scrutiny, as she wears a camera that shows everything she does to millions of Circlers around the planet. Mae becomes the beloved face of The Circle.

Soon, the world starts closing in, as the Circle gets politicians to wear the same device. There seems to be nowhere to hide with cameras popping up all over the world. Nobody can disappear, as Mae finds out when an ex-boyfriend of hers tries to drop off the grid. Where will it end?

This is Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World filled with too much information, coupled with George Orwell’s ‘Big Brother’ from 1984. This dark satire is well-written and worth reading. The Circle is probably just around the corner.

Amanda Patterson
www.writerswrite.co.za
4.5/5

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I think is my favourite book of the year. It’s like reading George Orwell’s 1984. It’s so ludicrous it’ll never happen, right? Right? 
When Mae is hired by the most powerful internet company she is thrilled. It is a company that celebrates transparency and connectivity. Who doesn’t want to share everything? Show everything? 

Mia Botha
www.writerswrite.co.za
4/5

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