I picked up The Circle as part of my Autumn Reading List, mostly because I had heard about the film adaptation due out this year.I took it with me for reading material on my trip to Aylesbury and St Albans to visit friends, and oh my god I devoured it.I finished it at about one in the morning, lying on a sofa in St Albans, and when my friend woke up the next day I basically forced it upon her because I knew she’d love it. Unfortunately, a glitch in my phone meant that the photos I had taken of my copy got deleted (damn you Android!) hence my using this cover image. I really prefer using my own, but alas!
The Circle is a company striving to create the modern utopia.They offer advanced software that connects people across the globe, changing the way that people communicate. The story follows Mae Holland as she begins working at The Circle, and gradually works her way up the ranks. As the book continues, we learn more and more about the technologies being developed by The Circle. “Transparency” is lauded, and is when politicians, in the name of honesty and integrity, wear a camera around their necks for most of the day, even to important meetings. The Circle believes in the right of the people to know what is happening, everywhere and all the time. The book gradually builds up to the principle of “Privacy is Theft”.
Reading The Circle, I felt a growing sense of horror, as an organisation that I initially thought was incredible and hell, I’d love to work there, slowly became more and more insidious in its intentions. The juxtaposition of opinions of Mae and her parents, and ex-boyfriend Mercer, lends some more context to the events of the books. Rather than only getting Mae’s warped opinions from within The Circle, their reactions show us how many people in the world feel about The Circle’s innovations.
The book wasn’t perfect; a particularly transparent metaphor involving a fish tank didn’t need to be included, but the story and the slow revealing of The Circle’s intentions work brilliantly. From doing a little reading, I think I interpreted the ending slightly differently from others, but that may have been intended by Eggers.
Overall, if you want to become concerned about the state of the world and consider abandoning the internet forever, or just want a good read that’s slightly chilling, I highly recommend it.
Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this post, and if so keep an eye out as this is part of my Blogtober series where I post every day in October. Check out my other posts from this month and see whether I actually manage to even think of 31 topics!