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"All That Happens Must Be Known",
This review is from: The Circle (Hardcover)
When Mae lands a coveted job at the Circle, the world's largest internet company, she is over the moon. The campus, staffed with thousands of believers in the company philosophy of global transparency, appears to be a utopian paradise and she is determined to rise through the ranks.
Dave Eggers always gives the reader something new and surprising, and this is no exception. However, the writing style in this novel lacks his usual bite and mordant humour. This may very well be intentional. The main character of Mae is merely a cipher and the people who work at the Circle - brilliant, one and all - have a creepy Stepford feel to them. Although the campus is vast and its glass structures magnificent, there is a definite air of claustrophobia that makes for uncomfortable reading, as if the reader has entered the realm of an ominous, inescapable cult.
Mae "drinks the Kool-Aid" much to the gratification of her colleagues and her bosses but to the displeasure of others beyond the campus. Her ex-boyfriend - another cipher - is the lone representative of the many millions who would oppose the totalitarian tendencies of such an organisation and the inexorable loss of personal privacy that they espouse. As an admirer of Dave Eggers' work, I have mixed feelings about this book. It's imaginative, it's frightening and it's no doubt prophetic. But it could have been so much better. A good one for book groups, I suspect, but for me it needed much more of the Eggers 'edge'.