David Eggers’ “The Circle” comes with some praise. In it, he tries to discuss trade-offs around privacy, transparency, anonymity and autonomy.
Unfortunately, he chose to cast that attempt into the mold of a novel: Leaving assorted logic lapses aside, Eggers’ narrative style is tedious. The characters are too one-dimensional to ever elucidate the tensions around privacy and accountability; character arcs at best linear and predictable, at worst non-existent; Mae’s mostly-superficial thought processes get pages upon pages. And the shark fable is as subtle as a sledgehammer.
Because the narrative fails, Eggers resorts to pontificating: There’s Bailey’s speech, there’s the ex boy-friend’s letter, there’s the crowd-sourced drone attack gone wrong. And Kalden (who could be an interesting character) arrives in Damascus without us ever learning about the road there.
The worst waste of time since Dan Brown.