Eggers has created a thoughtful–and at times darkly humorous–idea novel that aspires to challenge the all-encompassing corporate rule of the present day, in the way that Orwell confronted the authoritarian state of the previous century. The Circle is an amalgamation of several recognizable tech/marketing/social media companies, which is led by corporation’s “3 Wise Men,” seemingly benevolent Big Brothers whose twisted Utopian mission involves making everyone’s actions transparent to all. Young Circle hire Mae Holland is ecstatic to join the powerful company and she gradually gives up her own identity in a progressive series of Pavlovian work assignments and lifestyle compromises. Mae leans in eagerly to the slick, soft embrace of The Circle, a totalitarian world where those who acquiesce receive material benefits to drape over their hollow, media-addicted lives–but all are subject to a nightmare of surveillance, attacks on privacy, and assaults on human dignity. But, Mae? She wins the victory over herself. Like Winston in 1984, she loved The Circle.
–Will Peters, Annie Bloom’s Books, Portland, OR
We’re reminding you of this book, available in paperback and even without a movie cover, now so you can read it before the movie hits theaters April 28. Find it at Annie Bloom’s and other independent bookstores.