It’s been years since I read Eggers’s Zeitoun, a compelling true story that carries a message that is, unfortunately, as appropriate now as it was during the post-911 zeitgeist dominating the early 2000s. I say this because it was that same sense of relevancy that excited me about The Circle, published in 2013 and (apparently) widely acknowledged as one of the year’s best books. Yes, I’m rather late to the game, but I am, again, applauding the timeliness of the themes that emerge in the very first pages.
I’m a complete sucker for explorations of sociocultural forces that shape our reality (or our perceptions of it), especially when we get to dig into the implicit and the unspoken. Combine this with dystopian fiction and I’m hooked immediately.
One-Woman Book Club: Dave Egger’s The Circle
As I write this, I’ve just finished the first few (unmarked) chapters—a dizzying introduction to Mae, the Circle, and a Brave-New-World-meets-Black-Mirror version of the near future. I feel quite like I imagine Mae did on her first day at the HQ of the dominating force in technology, innovation, and everything: eager, overwhelmed, and sure that I’ll have forgotten everything I’ve learned by the end of the day. Importantly though, I’ll not forget the sensations that each encounter and discovery left me with. I’m quickly developing the (vicarious) sense of excitement that only comes from feeling part of something big, a distaste for certain Circlers, a connection to others, a practiced eye-roll for the social media culture that pervades Mae’s context, and a healthy anticipation to learn where Mae’s journey will take me.
So far, it’s got a nice, quick pace, and I’m connecting fast and hard with the protagonist who’s all too easy to identify with: a serial major-changer in college, buried in student debt, and disenchanted with the traditional 9-to-5. Even better, the narrative is woven with subtle hints of sinister on the horizon—nothing compels me more!
Have you read it?
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