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Mae Holland is 24 when she starts working at The Circle, a ubiquitous Internet company (think Google merged with Facebook , Twitter, and Amazon), where over 10,000 employees work at its sprawling Silicon Valley campus. As Mae discovers, The Circle provides a lot-every workplace perk you can imagine-but it also requires total buy-in, which causes Mae to stumble at first, but she soon learns to embrace it. The Circle, meanwhile, is making the world safe and connected by putting tiny cameras everywhere and computer chips in children's bodies, hatching ever bigger plans while its detractors fall by the wayside. As Mae tries to keep up with The Circle's increasingly demanding requirements for participation and sharing, she falls under its spell, believing she is loved by her millions of followers while distancing herself-and worse-from her parents and oldest friends. Verdict Although this novel lacks subtlety and provides few surprises, Eggers's (A Hologram for the King; Zeitoun) seamless prose will suck readers into his satirical polemic against giving up privacy and should provide plenty of discussion around the water cooler-both literal and digital. [See Prepub Alert, 8/12/13.]-Nancy H. Fontaine, Norwich P.L., VT (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* Most of us imagine totalitarianism as something imposed upon us but what if we're complicit in our own oppression? That's the scenario in Eggers' ambitious, terrifying, and eerily plausible new novel. When Mae gets a job at the Circle, a Bay Area tech company that's cornered the world market on social media and e-commerce, she's elated, and not just because of the platinum health-care package. The gleaming campus is a wonder, and it seems as though there isn't anything the company can't do (and won't try). But she soon learns that participation in social media is mandatory, not voluntary, and that could soon apply to the general population as well. For a monopoly, it's a short step from sharing to surveillance, to a world without privacy. This isn't a perfect book the good guys lecture true-believer Mae, and a key metaphor is laboriously explained but it's brave and important and will draw comparisons to Brave New World and 1984. Eggers brilliantly depicts the Internet binges, torrents of information, and endless loops of feedback that increasingly characterize modern life. But perhaps most chilling of all is his notion that our ultimate undoing could be something so petty as our desperate desire for affirmation. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Eggers' reputation as a novelist continues to grow. Expect this title to be talked about, as it has an announced first printing of 200,000 and the New York Times Magazine has first serial rights.--Graff, Keir Copyright 2010 Booklist