Fast, thrilling, compulsively addictive – The Circle is Dave Eggers’s timely novel about our obsession with the internet.
When Mae is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. Run out of a sprawling California campus, the Circle links users’ personal emails, social media, and finances with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of transparency. Mae can’t believe her great fortune to work for them – even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public …
It is very rare that a story will truly terrify me. That doesn’t mean that I don’t let books affect me because I do but this book – The Circle – is terrifying because it is far too close to reality.
The story is set in a media company called The Circle. It is a conglomerate that has control over everything: banks; social media; security. You name it – they control it. When newbie worker Mae Holland is given a job at the company she starts to learn the ways in which you are supposed to act. She is manipulated into attending company events, has to shop at the onsite stores and all things that she does need to be mentioned on the companies information network. If you are thinking that this seems similar to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter or even search engine Google you would not be wrong.
So you are probably wondering what makes this book so scary. Well, for me, it was the common sense ideas that are presented such as CCTV monitoring of people you love to know that they are safe, tracking implements in children to make sure that they don’t get abducted and the wider picture of if people think that they are being watched then they would regulate their behaviour thus bringing crime rates down. The ideas and innovations seem amazing. However, the repercussions of what is suggested outweigh the innovation; the main one being the lack of privacy. We already live in a society in which we cannot have a plate of food without taking an Instagram picture of it, posting it on Facebook and Tweet about it as well as sending a Snapchat and boasting about it via text message. The implication that we have no control of any of this is truly terrifying.
If the world of social media seems overwhelming to you and you like thriller fiction then you need to read The Circle.
The Circle by Dave Eggers is available now.