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Friday, April 11, 2014

The Circle - Dave Eggers

Soooooo...yeah. It is not often that I find myself super creeped out by a book that is equal parts funny and riveting, so I would say Dave Eggers' latest, The Circle, is a win on all counts.

The world's most popular and powerful social networking company is The Circle. It has eclipsed all that we know into one amalgamation of transparency and communication. When Mae is hired to work in the customer experience department, it's the job of a lifetime. She embraces her new job full force, acquiring a new additional monitor at her desk on almost a daily basis. She shares her every move and embraces her new life, including her geeky crush and a mysterious stranger who strikes her family. The only problem? What happens when you share too much and your life becomes not your own?

Holy hell, what an amazing piece of work. Seriously. I am shaken to the core by this novel. Eggers has this lovely, lilting style of writing that is enrapturing and funny and erudite and super meta, and then he pairs it with a story that is frightening and soul-stiring and seems almost as if it could come true next year. It is an incredibly juxtaposition of style and content that it removes any rule you may know, understand, or embrace about content dictating style. Whoosh.

I was completely sucked in by Mae's experience at the Circle, from the moment she walked in until the moment she made her ultimate decision. Hell, even I wanted to work at the Circle; I almost put in a job application before I remembered it wasn't a real place. (Yet.) Things start to get frighteningly dystopic at the end, a way in which you might not even describe as dystopic, but I am choosing my words carefully here...which was amazing. Just...incredible.

Well...it even gets crazy in the beginning-middle. I started to become suspicious early on, and I was rooting for Mae's privacy from the very beginning. But here's the funny thing about privacy--it's only as present as you want it. Even for us and our book of faces obsessions; we must realize that loss of privacy is just one simple click away. How easily forgotten.

The ending will come as a bit of a surprise even if you can figure it out. It was not a sucker punch so much as it was a knocked-over-by-feather. I was in such shock from the book as a whole that the end was not surprising, in fact, it could easily be said it was expected; rather, it was normally astonishing. I think it was because regardless of how many signs pointed to the end, I hoped against hope it would go a different way. The fact that I was so affected (I had dreams about this book, y'all) is a testament to its greatness. Pick it up.

Kindle version on left, hard copy on right.

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