Dave Eggers’ The Circle


James Ponsoldt’s movie version of The Circle, starring Emma Watson, John Boyega, and Tom Hanks, opened today to pretty universally negative reviews, so you might want to read the book instead. Dave Eggers’s 2013 novel, The Circle, is a book centered on social media and how the internet could affect how humans interact and even how human personalities are shaped.

The novel revolves around Mae Holland, who is employed by the technology company called the Circle. Imagine Facebook, Paypal, Amazon, Ebay, and Google all rolled into a monopoly. Other characters include the mysterious Kalden and optimistic Francis, both of whom Mae enjoys some romantic trysts with.

Throughout the course of the novel, Mae’s influence and prestige within the Circle—and even the entire world—grows. The Circle’s constant technological innovations and endeavors bring out apparently positive and welcome change in the world. But not everything is well within the Circle and as Mae moves up the corporate and social media ladders, dark things go down that could affect democratic civilization as we know it…

Eggers’s The Circle is a novel of ideas, specifically about how technology affects human relationships, politics, and identity. The novel is a hefty read, but well worth the time as it probes what democratic society could look like if everyone was always online. It may comes off as exaggerated and paranoid, but Eggers’s symbolism—both subtle and obvious—and the story he weaves make the novel an interesting read to visit.



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