The Circle – Dave Eggers

April 12, 2015 § 1 Comment

I have this strange love for dystopian books. From 1984 to The Handmaid’s Tale to A Brave New World, I seem to have this weird attraction to such stories where the world seems to have skewed way beyond the right path, but which somehow seems so believable that it borders on scary.

The Circle came highly recommended. I remember reading an article about a year or two ago (I can’t recall), which was basically a list of the top ten books of the year that have perhaps not received as much attention and “air-time” as it should have. The Circle was one of them. The brief summary of what the book was about was enough for me to make a mental note of the book, and I made sure to look for it during my next visit to the bookstores.

I picked this book up only about a month ago, and that was after a very long period of non-reading. Work had got in the way, as did life, but I came to a point where I kept looking at my bookshelves and hearing voices in my head going, “Michelle, you’ve got to read something. Now.” I probably stared at the shelves for over a month, and when the job finally ended, I picked up this orange book, and let myself go.

It was a little tough to get into it at first, and I blame this entirely on the fact that I had not been reading for so long. Because the storytelling is excellent. The plot is awesome. And the characters are so weird, it’s absolutely believable. I’ve always thought of life to be weirder than fiction at times, and this book managed to blend reality and imagination together so well, I was finding it difficult to pull myself away from the world he had created, and back into this reality which seemed to have so much in common.

Can we really imagine a life where posting and sharing every little detail of our lives on the Internet is the norm? Can we believe a life where the number of likes and followers you have are one of, if not the, most important indicators of how successful you are? Can we see what our lives could be like if everything was made available at the touch of a screen, where no information is secret, and transparency is everything?

I feel that we almost don’t need to use too much of our imaginations, really, because our world does seem to be moving very much in that direction. But while it seems scary to read this description here, it definitely did not feel like that when I was reading the book.

The narrator is a girl who very staunchly believes in the nobility of The Circle, which seems eerily similar to Google+WorldWideWeb. And the arguments are so believable, at times I was almost obliged to believe that perhaps a world where The Circle reigned supreme would, after all, be a good world to be in. That was how convincing Dave Eggers was, and it scared the living daylights out of me.

I can understand why it was voted Best Book of the Year by so many people, because it is, in fact, a great read. It’s that type of book where you find yourself completely immersed in the world that’s been created within the pages, and when you stop reading, you can’t really tell if you’re still in there or not.

Loved it.

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