Dave Eggers || The Circle

I am slightly ambivalent about The Circle. It is a nice enough novel though not great. Its characters are flat almost bordering on the caricature, events are too predictable. Only at the end Eggers surprises by having main character Mae not take the decision one would have expected her to take. On the average though Mae does not convince as a person. While she sets out as the one person who might be critical about her new employer, the Circle, it soon becomes apparant that she is so determined to belong to the Circle that she practically brainwashes herself. She convinces herself that the compelling rules within The Circle (thou shalt share all thy thoughts, experiences and ideas, thou shalt not withold anyting from thy fellow human beings) are good. Being provided with a camera that shows viewers every step she takes, Mae gets addicted to attention, to being informed, to having millions of people following her lead. Even when doubt enters her mind she finds logical explanations that make it possible for her to function within The Circle, which leads me to the most scary thing about The Circle. While I was reading it I kept thinking ‘they do not surely think that we would allow this? No parent would want it’s child to be chipped like an animal so that it can be monitored 24/7?! No way this can happen?!’. And then I thought about this nice young man who told me a few weeks ago that he was seriously considering having a chip inserted into his hand. This chip he would then use to pay for the train or the bus. Or what to think of those people who have crowdfunded the development of a gadget that will give them a slight electrical shock when they open the fridge, unauthorized. The brainlessness of the Circle’s employees (it seems as if the capability to be brainwashed ranked higher as a HR-instrument than capability to think for yourself) might be exagerated, the truth is that our world has changed enormously through digital discoveries and keeps on changing rapidly. Don’t get me wrong, I do not advocate returning to the pre-internet and pre-social media times, I am far too attached to my smart phone, email, e-reader, twitter and WordPress and would not want to return to the old-fashioned ways. The Circle has made me think about the consequences though: I would not want a society in which I am being forced to share my thoughts, ideas and experiences with everyone, in which one organization controls everything I do because it holds the digital key to my bank accounts, social service number, credit card accounts or whatever preferences I have. I will gladly share my thoughts on books with you but will not share the video of myself and my horse cantering. That I’ll keep to myself. The Circle might not be the greatest novel on earth, it is definitely one that should be read and discussed.



About booksandliliane

I am an avid reader and love to share my love for literature. I have my own opinion on books that have been shortlisted, laureated by critics or are pushed on us by bookstores. I will try and explain why I like or do not like a book. Hopefully influencing you in your choice of books to read.
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