The Circle

by Dave Eggers

Mae Holland is a young woman who’s been a bit down on her luck. She manages to secure a job, through a friend, at the hottest new company in the country and the world. The company is called Circle and is based in San Francisco. It’s a social media giant based on how we might imagine Facebook, Google, Amazon, Twitter, all those big internet companies; what it might be like if they all merged.

So Mae starts working for this energetic, young, upbeat company. At first she finds it a bit bewildering but she is eager to fit in and get along and increasingly there are more reasons why she needs to succeed – her father is ill and the Circle provides her with unprecedented and limitless health care for him. It is also an environment where she feels appreciated and influential, and where life is comfortable and luxurious.

So Mae buys into the Circle concept completely, supporting all the new initiatives and coming up with her own thinking for how the company can complete the Circle. This effectively means being the one place which filters and processes everything to do with society. The aim is for complete transparency, where everything everyone does is public and available for anyone else to access.

This book is frighteningly possible exploring how real life could become determined by the tyranny of technology. But it is also funny and entertaining. It is easy and quick to read but keeps you thinking and arguably makes you consider your own actions and responses to technology.

There aren’t any chapters. Normally this could be quite irritating but I found I didn’t want to stop reading, and this sensation in itself added to the feeling of being trapped, being sucked in to the world of the Circle. The book isn’t perfect – the characters don’t always behave authentically, but it is a brilliant read.

Review date: August 2015
The Circle by Dave Eggers