The Circle (The Circle, #1)
Dave Eggers

alternate cover for ISBN 9780385351393

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 the world—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.

The Circle (The Circle, #1) book cover

“don’t presume the benevolence of your leaders”

This is actually a terrifyingly realistic depiction of what could so seriously happen. A few years ago, people worried that Facebook could dominate in the way of the Circle as shown in this book, and there are still concerns about Google’s monopolistic tendencies. Apple had an extreme share of the mobile market at one stage, and it only takes one company with enough pull and vision to tilt us into a single provider world.

This is explored superbly here, and although the reactions from people like Alistaire, Nanci, and Helena and Edward are utterly out-of-proportion and neurotic, they show the absolutism of the social world. The Circle’s insistence that out-of-hours “social” activities aren’t optional yet are so necessary is a dichotomy brilliantly juxtaposed, and the final paragraph, those hundred words or so, are chilling to the marrow.

Published by Sean Randall

I am an avid reader, technologist and disability advocate living in the middle of England with my wife, daughter and pets.

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