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This is a rollicking yarn masquerading as a dystopian vision of the future. Given the subject matter I shouldn't be too surprised that this is filled with cheesy characters telling each other how 'awesome' they are and that being thirty was 'like really old!' I did however enjoy hating the Circle with every ounce of my soul and cheering on the rebel characters. Mae is a chillingly dim heroine, but surely there is purpose in this, given the things she gets up to.
The reader did make some of the characters sound like they came straight out of South Park and this made me wonder if the book was actually meant to be funny.
Overall this book lacks subtlety but makes it up by being reasonably entertaining and with an almost nail biting ending. I can see this a being quite a good Hollywood film although I am not sure I would queue round the block to see it.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
Clunky, in the sense that 1984 and Atlas Shrugged are clunky, this is a plodding novel tackling sociology and economics in the digital age. I read it in this spirit - as a discussion of the dilemmas we face with big data and social networks: the advantages of transparency Vs privacy and identifiability Vs anonymity, forcing social responsibility and conformity against the individual's 'right' to stay apart, unmonitored and anti-social. To my mind I ended up more in favour of transparency and forced identification; Eggers seems to land few punches in favour of anonymity, despite trying to warn of some dystopian, digital future.
Clunky means the characters are made of cardboard and there is virtually no plot. People behave in unlikely ways and believe unlikely things (in my experience, people are much less easy to lead by the nose than Eggers thinks). Eggers also makes the classic errors of a man narrating as a woman: his heroine, May, enjoys, and is keen to repeat, perfunctory (but hugely satisfying) sex in a toilet with a strange man who has failed to give her his name (and turns out to be... oh, I shouldn't spoil things, should I? ). The only clothes described are when May is 'wearing a red silk blouse and black skirt'. Dave, either do some research into how women think or narrate as a man.
Narration. Professional, appropriately Californian.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful