Title: The Circle
Author: Dave Eggers
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf.
Publication Date: October 8, 2013
Rating: 1 Star
” That the volume of information, of data, of judgements, of measurements, was too much, and there were too many people, and too many desires of too many people, and too many opinions of too many people, and too much pain from too many people, and having all of it constantly collated, collected, added and aggregated, and presented to her as if that all made it tidier and more manageable–it was too much “.
Dear fellow Babblers,
I am a reading babbler and allow me to confess… my reading has SUFFERED (emphasis on SUFFERED).
And this is when I both welcome you and warn you into a babbling of The Circle.
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.
24-year-old naive Mae Holland is a few year out of college and, thanks to her buddy, Annie, she lands a job at The Circle, the worlds up-and-coming, possibly monopolizing internet company. Mae, her unambitious mother, and her father, suffereing from multiple scloriosiss and a series of seizures thrilled about Mae’s new job. Mae must start at the bottom, in the company experience department. In only the first few days, Mae’s new job begins to take over her life in a multitude of avenues. Not only are her relationships with her employees mediated by the internet company’s savvy new technology, but even her perception of herself and the outside world seem to become penetrated and chillingly controlled by The Circle. Mae’s « job » at the circle extends outside of the office space and she is consistently urged to attend the company’s many weekly and weekend parties. The Circle is a world outside of reality where everything and everything is made to be perfect and ideal with grocery stores with the best aloe gel, medical plans where employers can add their family members, and even on-campus dorms used to house employees who choose to remain on the campus after hours. An influential company, the very epitome of modernity and a young crew of tech savvy professionals appears for Mae to be the ideal life. Even though she is fully aware of the company and its employee’s growing control o ver each and every vista of her life, she succumbs to The Circle and becomes simultaneously victim and perpetrator of virtual reality’s replacement of universal democracy and the human right of privacy with artificially controlled direction.
Now that logistics is taken care of lets get down to this meaningless babbler’s sufferings.
Who taught Egger’s how to write a novel? The thematics and the ideas are all there. Reading the goodreads synopsis and the review from The Washington Post and The New York Times Book Review I was intrigued by the novel and the relevance it has in our world today becoming increasingly subjectified by multiple media platforms such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter. However, the portrayal of ideas of democracy and personal privacy become secondary in the novel by the weak writing. The novel builds suspense only to disappoint and events seem to jump into different time periods and atmospheres. Mae. oh dear Mae. Just about one of the most ditzy fictional characters in the history of EVER. The novel goes from her on The Circle campus answering facebook posts and zings from her fellow robotic employees, to her racing in a two-hour drive to her father’s bedside in the hospital after a « pseudo » seizure, and then her in the middle of a random lake by the cost freakin kayaking and stopping by the locals for a glass of white whine. And then back to the office only to begin the same process all over again. The repetition of event, creepy and insignificant characters (what’s with Francis anyway?), and events which are introduced and somehow become lost in the depths of other insignificant and obscure plot turns. This novel needs some intense re-editing and restructuring. How about we babble with Eggers on destroying the novel as it is and returning to the humble, harmless outlining and editing stages. And then re-editing. And then re-re-editing. Who’s with me?
Dear Mr. Dave Eggers,
Your ideas are there. I promise I love your concept of a utopia made by virtual mediums. But can you please get back to basics. Start over and stop the reader’s suffering! As a reading babbler I detest having to babble negatively of books, a I respect all literary styles and genres but The Circle exceeds all boundaries and I just cannot help but babble suffering and warn my fellow babblers out there who anticipate a genius work of realistic fiction to turn on their heels and meander back and pick up some Haruki Murakami instead.
Comments? Have you suffered through The Circle? Disagree? Whatcha reading now? Lets Babble on it! Comment below! No babbles are unwelcome!
(Image credits go to Google)