February 12, 2015

AKA Bookshelf: The Circle

I've had my eye on the novel The Circle by Dave Eggers for quite awhile. Admittedly I have my own conspiracies about large corporations and I was excited to see a novel explore the idea and darkness behind a large scale tech company.

The book explores a Google like company, but one that surpasses Google in size, scope, earnings and influence. The main character is introduced as an unhappy, listlessly working post grad. I could definitely identify with parts of her as I imagine many recent post grads could. She gets a mediocre job but at the dream company; The Circle. Things are looking up for Mae as she starts her job for one of the most coveted employers in the world.

The longer Mae works at The Circle however the more we discover about the company. The pressures, the surveillance and the expectations of both the employees and the public involved with the company. The heat gets turned up and everyone's privacy diminishes.

I enjoyed the book but not as much as I had hoped or expected I would. Because I have my own ideas about these large companies I had a narrative I was hoping the book would follow. So in some ways I was setting myself up for failure. Eggers was writing the story not me.

We follow Mae down the rabbit hole but not in the way I was hoping. I felt like Eggers was going to take it further. We were beginning with such an exaggerated company that I was hoping the whole story would be over the top. In ways the story went overboard but in the end I felt like the book needed more and at the same time needed editing. The book is about 500 pages but there are some things introduced yet barely explored.

Although I was a bit disappointed with the book I still recommend it as an intriguing read and as an interesting reflection on current society and our relationship with technology as well as where that relationship can go.


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