Books | Fiction / Literary
INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER • A bestselling dystopian novel that tackles surveillance, privacy and the frightening intrusions of technology in our lives—a “compulsively readable parable for the 21st century” (Vanity Fair). 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.
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Community ReviewsSee all
"Almost purposely insufferable. Oddly dense and empty at the same time. I know you're meant to watch the absorption of life by this nefarious digital faux-utopia. But no one, not even in the novel's initial stages, is worth caring about. It's preachy, the narrative voice is flat. Awful."
"Eggers takes the corporate surveillance state to an extreme in "The Circle". The book is an exploration of what a totally "transparent" world without privacy would look like. He traces a path from the tech companies of today to what a hyper-connected, always-watching society looks like, but rather than being brought about by the state, this world is spawned by the Circle corporation. While Eggers does do a good job of conveying the weird vibe inside modern tech companies, his tone occasionally gets a bit preachy and he makes a couple sneaky logical leaps that don't actually hold up upon deeper inspection. Crucially for the plot, he has one of the "three wise men" ask the main character if there is ever an instance where secrecy is a good thing and she can't come up with any... and he uses this as a plot device to dupe the rest of the world into going "transparent" (along with some obvious "for the children" ploys). Clearly Eggers doesn't actually believe that total transparency is a good thing (which is why he wrote this dystopian novel), but somehow in the world of the book no one at the company thinks this way. His aquarium metaphor is super obvious and gets really old too. Worth reading? Frown."