A Review of Dave Eggers The Circle


A Review of Dave Eggers The Circle

I always knew there were reasons why I wasn’t a huge fan of Facebook.  Just sort of in my gut.  I didn’t like how conversations were truncated with – “So, the post I posted last night?  Well, it happened again.”  Eh?  What?  What happened again?  What are you talking about.  Or the fact that maybe the voyeuristic/narcissistic (narciyeurism?) tendencies are amped to like eleven there?  I don’t know.  I never really could enunciate it very well.

So I left.

That was like 3 years ago now?  I really can’t even remember really.  Its been so long ago.  And since my leaving was so widely publicized amongst my friends all those truncated conversations stopped.  There has been the rare meme that I have missed because of not seeing it circulate on Facebook.  But generally anything doing the rounds on facebook has already hit Youtube, Twitter, Vine or Instagram.  Which I at least partially watch in some degree or another.

But even those things aren’t perfect.  And could arguably be even worse?  But it wasn’t until I read Eggers’ latest book “The Circle” that I was able to really put my finger on the real reasons as to why all of these interweb apps are so problematic.  Its really quite simple really.  Its a simple expectation.

The expectation is that I will be taking time away from my LIFE to point at a digital representation of my life.  The expectation is that I will be cognizant of this other system, its demands, and its needs.  That I will watch my friend’s walls.  That I will be interested in these representations of their online personas… as opposed to being interested in them.  Or better yet, that I would be enthralled with both?  All of it… and that this digital life will flow in a contiguous fashion from the digital to the real to the digital again.


Dave Eggers enthralled me originally with his book The Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Beauty.  If you haven’t read that I highly recommend it.  Probably my favorite memoir by far.  He is also the dream child of the lit world with his creation of McSweeney’s and his kids writing group called 826 Valencia.  Since writing HWOSB he’s gone on to write a number of critically acclaimed novels like “What is the What”, “You Shall Know Our Velocity”, “Zeitoun”, and “Hologram for the King” and a couple more.  Each one is so wildly varied and interesting in their own way.

The Circle

Which brings us to his latest novel which is getting critical acclaim from everywhere.  Entertainment Weekly, New York Times, LA Times… you name it.  It is being seen as the one central response to a society that has abandoned all reason with regard to privacy and sanity online.

The story follows Mae Holland who is hired to work for the Circle.  Eggers doesn’t even try and hide the correlation to Google and their sprawling perfect California Campus.  At first Mae is in love with the place and really enjoys getting to know the company and starts rapidly excelling.  Until she slowly begins to question the constant sharing and the lack of sanity of it all.  The book quickly takes on the texture and the feel of 1984.  A very very brightly lit dark tableau… if that makes sense.  Darkness hidden behind a smiling facade.  It definitely is his best book outside of his freshman debut, which he will never better.  That just won’t happen.  But it is quite enjoyable and very very prescient documentary on our entire society’s more’s.