Sunday 16 August 2015

The Circle by Dave Eggers

3.5 out of 5 stars

Mae Holland needs a job to pay back her college debt. Fortunately for her, she knows someone connected – Annie. Annie is one of the senior people in The Circle, a huge technological company that has monopolized world business and controls almost all of the world’s economy.

The Circle started life as a web search engine (like Google) and grew to do anything you could think of from shopping to social media and all things revolutionary. The founder, Ty Gospodinov, is responsible for the operating system which gives users one online identity. His ideals of full transparency and a meritocratic universe, where number of followers, views, queries solved with 100% feedback ratios are all consuming seems destined to triumph.

But that’s not all. If you work for The Circle (the ultimate best company to work for), you enter paradise – beautifully designed office spaces, and every need of the employees catered for, from nightly parties, to activities and clubs, full canteen facilities and medical care, even for your extended family.

So what is the cost to the employees? Well, of course, it is not demanded or required, but grateful employees pay for all of this by working hard, and interacting 24/7 with the operating system. The ultimate goal – to have a camera around your neck and be fully transparent – where all your followers know everything you do, and your opinion on it, and they freely express theirs. The interesting part is how obsessed Mae becomes with the world created within the world, and how she loses connection with her previous life, and everything that isn’t part of The Circle. The aspirations of The Circle for more control and power become more sinister.

Dave Eggers has written a page turner, with a powerful storyline and a fascinating premise.

Don’t expect beautiful writing or layered characters. There are also a few intimate scenes that can only be described as cringeworthy. But overall, this book is worth a read for its insights and observations on social interactions.

ISBN: 9780385351393

Read my previous review – The Miniaturist.
Here are all my reviews and recommendations.

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