When Mae 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. Mae can't believe her great fortune to work for them - 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...
©2013 Dave Eggers (P)2013 Random House Audio
"Tremendous. Inventive, big hearted and very funny. Prepare to be addicted" (Daily Mail)
The high tech future is inevitable. With these advances also come great responsibility. Fascinating story.
The BEST narrator ever!!!
The Circle is a thinly disguised critique of internet companies like Google and Apple and the adulation they inspire. However it is continually annoying to read because the main character Mae constantly fails to stand up for herself or exhibit any normal human reactions. Most of the other characters are obsessed by the concept of complete openness and no-one except for Mae's parents, her ex-boyfriend and one other main character value their privacy. Everyone else is like no-one you have ever met. Furthermore, the trolls that infest the internet don't seem to exist in this world. Customer service is consistently rated at over 95% and smiles outweigh frowns by a huge amount. Dave Eggers has created a world with a certain type of human in it to make a fairly sledgehammer point. Therefore he hasn't had to deal with the complexities of real humans. For that reason, I found the book ultimately unsatisfying. It is just too artificial.
The story is a well trodden group of ideas. Privacy, control, cults and power. It's been better done in other novels. The opening is interesting and the idea of the overall powerful internet company is ok.
The infuriating aspect are the two female leads, they are sketched out as been smart, intelligent and good at their jobs. The main character Mae is impossibly good at her job. She's like a machine.
Yet neither has any crucial thought, like nil. It is so disappointing. They make choices that no one would consider normal.
There is zero opposition to this company and Mae. The few characters that do kind of stand up are quickly killed off. It seems everyone in the world has joined the mob rule and no one founds that weird.
This could have been a good solid story, instead the female leads have as much depth as a puddle of water. They quickly become these ego centric mad women. I seriously doubt you will be liking any of the characters.
An enjoyable thought experiment on the extent of technology's involvement in our lives. Likeable characters and a setting that's just close enough to reality.
This book was compulsive listening but ultimately made me feel I'd been wasting my time. The ideas were provocative - a future with no privacy and the consequences of monopolies but the characters were unbelievable and uninteresting -especially the main character who hovers between being damaged and just damn stupid. A more skilful writer could have made a satire out of the material.
"Internet bad guys - so uncool!"
This is a rollicking yarn masquerading as a dystopian vision of the future. Given the subject matter I shouldn't be too surprised that this is filled with cheesy characters telling each other how 'awesome' they are and that being thirty was 'like really old!' I did however enjoy hating the Circle with every ounce of my soul and cheering on the rebel characters. Mae is a chillingly dim heroine, but surely there is purpose in this, given the things she gets up to.
The reader did make some of the characters sound like they came straight out of South Park and this made me wonder if the book was actually meant to be funny.
Overall this book lacks subtlety but makes it up by being reasonably entertaining and with an almost nail biting ending. I can see this a being quite a good Hollywood film although I am not sure I would queue round the block to see it.
"One of the most boring books I have read"
Possibly someone a lot younger, but I really do not know
Although it looked promising with the idea that the internet could one day completely takeover both our work and private lives, the book was too long and plodding. Thought provoking for a while but then just tedious. I tried manfully to finish it, always hoping something unexpected would happen but just gave up. It is very unusual for me to not finish a book.
"Thought provoking but could have been much better"
The themes in The Circle are interesting, it looks at how a 'Google-esque' company could go about taking over the world, however it is let down through a combination of cardboard characters and a badly structured narrative.
There are elements in the book that are excellently conceived and quite thought provoking (for example the growing number of screens on Mae's desk, is a simple device, but it works really well) however, whenever it seems as if the book is going to really take-off and become a classic, everything comes to a grinding halt.
Characters make ridiculous decisions, completely out of character with no explanation as to why (Mae rightly is rightly disgusted by something Francis does, but all this gets forgotten in the blink of an eye), or simply get forgotten about until being crow-barred back in to place for no other reason than plot (the character of Annie is almost omnipresent but disappears for an age and comes back with an inexplicably altered personality).
The book's pacing is very uneven too, switching between long highly detailed descriptions of the activities of The Circle and brief passages in which major plot are passed over in an instant. An example of the latter is the final plot twist, its consequences and resolution. Without giving anything away, this should be the heart of the book, and could have a featured an in-depth philosophical argument and given a key character a true ethical dilemma. Instead it's crammed (along with a clunky metaphorical scene featuring a tank full of sea-creatures from the deepest parts of the ocean) into the final 20 minutes of the audiobook in a most unsatisfactory way.
In terms of the audiobook narration, this was fine. Occasionally the narrator would play a line in a way I don't think the author would have intended, but on the whole the performance was good. There would at times be strange pauses in the flow of the narration, this would make you think that a section had finished only to continue a couple of seconds later, which was slightly annoying
On the whole, The Circle isn't entirely bad, there is a good book trying breakout out - it's just that the poor elements far outweigh the better bits of the book.
"The googlefication of life"
The story is both relevant and interesting: what would life be like if the boundaries between work and life, public and private sphere disappeared to the extent that our existence became entirely "corporate"? The allusions to Orwell and Zamyatin are obvious, and the model for the titular company is clearly the world of Google: all the perks for workers are really means to bind them more tightly into the company and to make them work harder, to google-fy and apple-sync until there is no longer any world outside the corporate universe and all personal freedoms are yielded voluntarily. Technology becomes the new totalitarianism.And yet the story is so predictable (even the twist at the end can be spotted a mile away), and the characters so mediocre that it's actually hard to care about them. One character in particular becomes the kind of mouthpiece for authorial views that even the most rudimentary creative writing workshop (let alone editorial office!) would have told the writer to kill, modify or silence. At times I felt really quite patronised as a reader: I can think for myself, thank you.However, I can't fault the reader's performance: he did manage to make the characters distinct, and giving a voice to the criminally naive female protagonist cannot have been easy. Really well done.
No, I wouldn't. Listening to the last hour was a bit of a chore.
This needed editing to fulfil its potential because there is a really good novel in there. Beats me whether the author was resistant to advice or whether it's now okay to publish plodding and predicable material because your name is already "out there" and people buy the books anyway.
The near future what Google could become was well imagined. The story might appeal to a social media marketing intern provided they have never read a book before.
The characters were terrible and unbelievable, there was an incredibly clumsy metaphor crowbarred in, and there was a rubbish twist.
The narrator gave a spirited performance and despite some of his voices sounding like they came from Sesame Street he made the book far more interesting than the material warranted.
The circle and the things the company did were well imagined. Shame it was seemingly a company populated by the most retarded people in a planet full of retards.
A bad story in a good setting is still a bad story.
"How did they green light this as a film?"
People who can suspend their basic knowledge of how others think may get something out of this story. But I very much doubt it
Unlikely, very unlikely to listen to another Eggers book.
Graham's portrayal of female characters is shockingly bad. He makes them out to be high pitched moany creatures all the time, regardless of the context or setting.
This book is incredibly disappointing! How did they every think to turn it into a movie with the likes of Emma Watson playing May?
not my usual kind of book, but found I couldn't get enough of it. felt it wrapped up a bit quickly at the end but great storyline.
"Shallow and self-absorbed"
The story of a shallow, 2-dimensional and self-absorbed young woman as she joins the most successful company in the world.
Utterly forgetful characters, self-important and shallow story with a hurried meaningless ending.
"Average at best"
The story is different to anything I've heard before. But, my god is it extra average.
When it started I had heard good things from a friend. But I feel like I must cast this friend from my life.
However, in fairness Characters are written well and you are able to know them.
It's not the best written book, but it does.
All in all, I would recommend this book to people who like digital and the future of digital and sifi.
I would also warn do not go into this book with great expectations. But it is worth a listen.
"Interesting take on a digital eutopia"
Very interesting story, however I did struggle with Dion Graham's narration.
I found the ending a little disappointing.
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