“The Circle” by Dave Eggers is dystopian novel which, let’s be honest, isn’t set too far in the future. One huge company has basically made any other online company completely senseless: the Circle.All they did was merging all the different online profiles each one of us has today into one universal online personality.
The book centers around Mae, a fresh employee at the Circle, who, accompanied by the reader, starts to discover the complicated, rich in detail alternative universe the company has become.
I don’t think I have to tell you more about the plot since the odds are- you’ve heard of it. You may even own it… this book has gotten SO MUCH press these past months, most people have either read it or plan to read it, like, REALLY soon.
When I read the blurb of this book, I knew I needed to read it. I’m actually not the biggest fan of Dystopian fiction, but everything on surveillance and transparency is totally up my alley.
The harder it hit me how much I despised this book. The only thing that kept me engaged and reading was the general subject and the indefinite hope that Dave Eggers might have something to say on it after all. (SPOILER: he didn’t.)
If you’ve ever read a good comment on society disguised as a novel, you might have noticed how it very intricately critisizes something you then recognize in your own life, how it gives you a new perspective on something you didn’t really think about before. Well, don’t expect such ingenuity from this book: it’s just gonna slap the message right in your face.
I don’t know if Dave Eggers just thought people wouldn’t understand him otherwise (and I agree that his message is valuable and important), but this book lacks any subtlety. You don’t have to think your own critical thoughts, there’s a conveniently skeptical character for that… Also, the overused transparent shark-metaphor is so cheap it made me cringe!
This book takes on an extremely important topic and fails spectacularly at it. The characters lack any depth (especially the despicable main character), the symbolism is way too obvious and even the final plot twist adds absolutely nothing to the whole experience. I’m sorry, but if you’re looking for an intelligent comment on society, you should keep looking…