Saturday, November 22, 2014

Dave Eggers - The Circle

I actually listened to the German audiobook by Hörbuch Hamburg read by Torben Kessler who did a good job.
The book though... not really good.
The idea is as frightening as it is real - The Circle is a global internet company who slowly takes over society and money and minds and memories and souls... It includes and combines all kinds of social networks, programmes, cameras, tracking systems etc. They constantly work on a transparent society, pointing at the advantages (mainly avoiding crime and corruption) without acknowledging any negative impact on human or personal rights or other dangers that might come with giving total control to one company.
The protagonist of The Circle is a young woman called Mae who is very happy to start her career on the campus of the hip and sucessful company. She is fascinated by the opportunities and advantages that the company offers. Although she feels uneasy and stressed by all the new requirements of her job (which quickly add up) her naivety and excitement about the company and all the new technical changes are unlimited. She blindly follows the path her superiors lay out for her and never asks a single question about the impact of the things happening around her. Her family and friends signal her warnings which she completely ignores.
This is naive up to being totally dumb - which makes her a totally useless protagonist. She never stops to think, she has no remorse or any other useful or real feelings.
The supposedly critical voices in the book do a terrible job, too, they aren't a real opposition and are silenced immediately. By the author - not by The Circle! There are lots of useless side plots which are worth nothing because there are mere secondary objects that appear and disappear by chance without serving a plausible purspose. Everything gets worse and worse because everyone is stupid and cheers the company on... this alone being totally unrealistic. One could argue that this is the main idea behind the book: To show readers the blindness with which people stumble into the trap of being sucked into a digital and transparent world online and in the real world.  But what's new about that? This is a topic which is pretty much recognized by most people already, so what is actuallly new about the ideas of The Circle?
It's not shocking, it is old news, it has a bad plot, it has bad characters. Do not read.

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