Book Club


'The Circle' by Dave Eggers Part 3: Discuss



It seems The Circle's quarters, which is how we're reading it, have a way of breaking just when you get to a particularly sexy section. That's how we left off last week -- Mae was in the midst of a steamy episode with the mysterious Kalden, and now, well, hmm... it's not exactly sexy, but what happens at the end of section three is certainly a sexual act.

By now, you're almost through the book, and my biggest "problem," if I can be said to have any, with the novel, will have become apparent. Some months, it can take the whole four weeks to get through a three- or four hundred page book. The Circle isn't one of those books: it's a fast, easy read, a classic page-turner. But how to reconcile the fact that such a "page-turner" can be so deeply unsatisfying in places?

For me, I'm beginning to wonder if it's not so much the over-simplification of the ideas and philosophies which many reviewers have taken issue with, so much as it is that the characters seem to be either wholly invested in those ideas, or, like Mercer, part of a tiny minority of dropouts. There's seemingly no one in the middle, though Mae's parents could qualify, but it's impossible to say because their characters are never very fully explored.

I'm struck also by something Alexis Madrigal (who reviewed the book here) said in a Twitter conversation (I can't find the actual tweet) about how Eggers's novel sort of highlights the inability of words to describe screen time -- the act of interacting with a computer. People have been trying to do this with varying levels of success for a very long time, but I agree that The Circle, which focuses so much on Mae's interactions with her various screens, both tries to do this more than other books, and in many ways fails to accurately portray those interactions in a satisfying way.


The Circle was featured on our Fall Reading List.
Our discussion of Part One of The Circle is here.
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