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The Circle

Nominated for the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis 2015, category Preis der Jugendlichen

Dave Eggers

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A bestselling dystopian novel that tackles surveillance, privacy and the frightening intrusions of technology in our lives—a “compulsively readable parable for the 21st century” (Vanity Fair). 

When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency.

As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO.

Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world—even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public.

What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.

Praise for The Circle

"A vivid, roaring dissent to the companies that have coaxed us to disgorge every thought and action onto the Web . . . Carries the potential to change how the world views its addicted, compliant thrall to all things digital. If you work in Silicon Valley, or just care about what goes on there, you need to pay attention."
-Dennis K. Berman, The Wall Street Journal

"Fascinating . . . Eggers appears to run on pure adrenaline, and has as many ideas pouring out of him as the entrepreneurs pitching their inventions in The Circle . . . [A] novel of ideas . . . about the social construction and deconstruction of privacy, and about the increasing corporate ownership of privacy, and about the effects such ownership may have on the nature of Western democracy . . . Like Melville's Pequod and Stephen King's Overlook Hotel, the Circle is a combination of physical container, financial system, spiritual state, and dramatis personae, intended to represent America, or at least a powerful segment of it . . . The Circlers' social etiquette is as finely calibrated as anything in Jane Austen . . . Eggers treats his material with admirable inventiveness and gusto . . . the language ripples and morphs . . . It's an entertainment, but a challenging one."
-Margaret Atwood, The New York Review of Books

"A parable about the perils of life in a digital age in which our personal data is increasingly collected, sifted and monetized, an age of surveillance and Big Data, in which privacy is obsolete, and Maoist collectivism is the order of the day. Using his fluent prose and instinctive storytelling gifts, Mr. Eggers does a nimble, and sometimes very funny, job of sending up technophiles' naïveté, self-interest and misguided idealism. As the artist and computer scientist Jaron Lanier has done in several groundbreaking nonfiction books, Mr. Eggers reminds us how digital utopianism can lead to the datafication of our daily lives, how a belief in the wisdom of the crowd can lead to mob rule, how the embrace of 'the hive mind' can lead to a diminution of the individual. The adventures of Mr. Eggers's heroine, Mae Holland, an ambitious new hire at the company, provide an object lesson in the dangers of drinking the Silicon Valley Kool-Aid and becoming a full-time digital ninja . . . Never less than entertaining . . . Eggers is such an engaging, tactile writer that the reader happily follows him wherever he's going . . . A fun and inventive read."
-Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

"The particular charm and power of Eggers's book . . . could be described as 'topical' or 'timely,' though those pedestrian words do not nearly capture its imaginative vision . . . Simply a great story, with a fascinating protagonist, sharply drawn supporting characters and an exciting, unpredictable plot . . . As scary as the story's implications will be to some readers, the reading experience is pure pleasure."
-Hugo Lindgren, The New York Times Magazine

"Eggers is a literary polymath . . . The Circle is funny in its skewering of Internet culture. Holland obsessively tallies the reach of her Twitter-like Zings and enthuses about a benefit for needy children that raises not money but 2.3 million 'smiles' (think Facebook 'likes'). The Circle's buildings are named for epochs, so at her first party Holland gets her wine from the Industrial Revolution . . . The ideas behind "The Circle" are compelling and deeply contemporary. Holland is an everywoman, a twentysomething believer in Internet culture untroubled by the massive centralization and monetization of information, ubiquitous video surveillance and corporate invasions of privacy. Compare that to A Hologram for the King, in which a middle-aged man thoughtfully but powerlessly observes America's economic decline, realizing that his efforts to participate in globalization led to his own obsolescence. The two books together are saying something foreboding about America's place in the world: We

Dave Eggers grew up near Chicago and graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the founder of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing house in San Francisco that produces books, a quarterly journal of new writing (
McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern), and a monthly magazine,
The Believer. McSweeney’s publishes Voice of Witness, a nonprofit book series that uses oral history to illuminate human rights crises around the world. In 2002, he cofounded 826 Valencia, a nonprofit youth writing and tutoring center in San Francisco’s Mission District. Sister centers have since opened in seven other American cities under the umbrella of 826 National, and like-minded centers have opened in Dublin, London, Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Birmingham, Alabama, among other locations. His work has been nominated for the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and has won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, France’s Prix Médicis,
Germany’s Albatross Prize, the National Magazine Award, and the American Book Award. Eggers lives in Northern California with his family.


Einband Taschenbuch
Seitenzahl 512
Erscheinungsdatum 01.04.2014
Sprache Englisch
ISBN 978-0-8041-7229-5
Verlag Random House LCC US
Maße (L/B/H) 18.3/11/3.6 cm
Gewicht 244 g


8 Bewertungen

von einer Kundin/einem Kunden am 06.01.2021
Bewertet: anderes Format

Top-one of my favorite books!

von einer Kundin/einem Kunden am 28.10.2020
Bewertet: anderes Format

Dave Eggers schreibt in klarer und direkter Sprache. Die Story ist erschreckend weil so real!

Massentaugliche Alltagskritik?
von Susi am 28.09.2017
Bewertet: Einband: gebundene Ausgabe

SPOILERFREI Dieser Roman handelt vom unumgänglichen Horror unserer Zeit: die Tatsache, dass unsere - und erst Recht die von uns visionierte - Welt durch die Digitalisierung des Menschen von der Utopie zur Dystopie wird! Gesellschaftskritik, aber nicht ernst und real, sondern verpackt in einen Roman mit der dazugehörigen Spannu... SPOILERFREI Dieser Roman handelt vom unumgänglichen Horror unserer Zeit: die Tatsache, dass unsere - und erst Recht die von uns visionierte - Welt durch die Digitalisierung des Menschen von der Utopie zur Dystopie wird! Gesellschaftskritik, aber nicht ernst und real, sondern verpackt in einen Roman mit der dazugehörigen Spannung, Action und Liebe. Leider bedient sich der Autor aller Clichés, die wir längst schon leid sind. Ich lese selbst nicht viel, und habe schon zig Bücher wie dieses gelesen (ich empfehle Skinned von R. Wassermann!). Außerdem ist der Schreibstil meines Erachtens nach so grauenhaft (darauf gehe ich noch ein), dass ich regelmäßig unterbrechen musste, um die Augen zu verdrehen. An sich ist die Story ganz okay. Man weiss schon vorher, was einen erwartet: Protagonist ist erst vom neuen Umfeld begeistert, verschließt erst die Augen vor negativem, sucht und findet dann doch die schlimme Wahrheit und zwischendurch gibt's mehrere Plot-twists in die Richtung "Gut ist Böse / Böse ist gut" die unglaublich vorhersehbar sind. Versehen wird das ganze dann mit einer kräftigen Dosis Owellischer Gesellschaftskritik: diesmal mit dem Thema digitale Transparenz! Interessant, da dies für uns heutzutage ein viel größeres Thema sein sollte, als es ist. Sowas ist natürlich massentauglich! Und damit nahezu sinnbefreit. Es mag Leute geben, die das Buch noch schockiert, aber die halte ich für die Minderheit. Sagen wir, ich hoffe es zumindest. Gesellschaftskritik um der Kritik Willen - nicht, weil sich der Autor leidenschaftlich für die Thematik oder die Menschliche Psyche interessiert. Lieblos werden Clichés aneinander gereiht: die unscheinbare Hauptfigur ohne weitere Charaktereigenschaft, der alles eigentlich nur aus Zufall passiert, die selbstbewusste erfolgreiche beste Freundin, die auch bei Sex in the City mitspielen könnte, der geheimnissvolle Junge Mann, so anders als alle zuvor ohne dass man genau weiß weshalb, der Aufstieg vom vermeintlichen Elend ins vermeintlich gelobte Land... Werte werden hier nicht wirklich in Frage gestellt, auch die Charaktere werden nicht wirklich lebendig, jeder Makel wirkt aufgesetzt. Selbstkritik findet nur Rückwirkend geübt. Es liest sich so, wie wenn eine Jungfrau brisante Liebesromane schreibt. Es ist lesbar, teilweise auch Unterhaltsam und spannend, aber man sollte auf keinen Fall erwarten von diesem Buch ernsthaft bewegt zu werden. Es handelt sich leider nur um Unterhaltung, nicht um Kunst, was Literatur ja sein kann, besonders mit einem solchen Thema. Was mich wirklich stört ist die Art und Weise, wie diese Geschichte erzählt wird. Englische Bücher zu kritisieren - da halte ich mich für gewöhnlich zurück. Man muss allerdings betrachten, dass dies ein Bestseller ist und kein Aufsatz eines Schülers. Genauso liest es sich aber leider: elendig häufig die selbe Satzstruktur, die selben Verben, die gleichen Adjektive, nur abgelöst von zeilenlanger Anreihungen solcher Wörter wie "paraphernalia" "voracious" "ostensible" oder "inexorable" die keinerlei zusätzlichen Sinn bringen sondern diesen nur suggerieren sollen. Die Charaktere und wichtigen Handlungen sind dann in der Regel wieder in so einfachem Englisch, dass die meisten Popsongs wahrscheinlich mehr unterschwelligen Inhalt haben. Hier einige Beispiele aus dem 1. Viertel des Buches: "[...] who simply wanted simplicity, [...]" "[...] he was grey-haired, ruddy-faced, twinkly-eyed, happy and earnest." "A dirty sort of burlap, a less refined sort of burlap. A bulk burlap, a poor man's burlap, a budget burlap." "She came from money [...] and was very cute [...] incapable of letting anything bother her [...] She was gangly [...] had bizarre obsessions - caves, amateur perfumery, doo-wop music [...] friendly with every one of her exes, every hook-up, with every Professor. She had been involved in, or ran, most or all the courses and clubs in College, [...] commited to housework, while also at any party, [able to] loosen everyone up, the last to leave [the Party]. She slept decadently, 8 - 10 hours a day." Nichts davon merkt man ihr an oder wird nochmal wirklich aufgegriffen. Ausserdem ist diese Charakter Beschreibung total clichehaft und unrealistisch (der Tag hat nur 48 Stunden und es gibt an normalen Colleges mehr Kurse und Fächer, als Stunden die Woche). M: "yup, yup" *setzt sich* "sorry". A: "i feel like school's about to Start and we just found Out we got put in the same home-romm. They give you a new Tablet?" Referenz an deren gemeinsame backgroundstory, aber als sie damals zugeordnet wurden, kannten sie sich nicht, die Aussage ist also inhaltslos und nur um der Referenz Willen. M: "Just now." A: "Let me see. Ohh, the engraving is a nice touch. We are going to get in such trouble together, arent we?" -kontext? M: "I hope so." A: "Okay, here's your teamleader. Hi Dan." D: "Hi Annie, how are you?" A: "Good, Dan." D: "I'm so glad, Annie." A: "You got a Good one here, I hope you know."

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  • My god, Mae thought. It's heaven.

    The campus was vast and rambling, wild with Pacific color, and yet the smallest detail had been carefully considered, shaped by the most eloquent hands. On land that had once been a shipyard, then a drive-in movie theater, then a flea market, then blight, there were now soft green hills and a Calatrava fountain. And a picnic area, with tables arranged in concentric circles. And tennis courts, clay and grass. And a volleyball court, where tiny children from the company's daycare center were running, squealing, weaving like water. Amid all this was a workplace, too, four hundred acres of brushed steel and glass on the headquarters of the most influential company in the world. The sky above was spotless and blue.

    Mae was making her way through all of this, walking from the parking lot to the main hall, trying to look as if she belonged. The walkway wound around lemon and orange trees and its quiet red cobblestones were replaced, occasionally, by tiles with imploring messages of inspiration. "Dream," one said, the word laser-cut into the red stone. "Participate," said another. There were dozens: "Find Community." "Innovate." "Imagine." She just missed stepping on the hand of a young man in a grey jumpsuit; he was installing a new stone that said "Breathe."

    On a sunny Monday in June, Mae stopped in front of the main door, standing below the logo etched into the glass above. Though the company was less than six years old, its name and logo-a circle surrounding a knitted grid, with a small 'c' in the center-were already among the best-known in the world. There were more than ten thousand employees on this, the main campus, but the Circle had offices all over the globe, and was hiring hundreds of gifted young minds every week. It had been voted the world's most admired company four years running.

    Mae wouldn't have thought she had a chance to work at such a place, but for Annie. Annie was two years older and they'd roomed together for three semesters in college, in an ugly building made habitable through their extraordinary bond, something like friends, something like sisters or cousins who wished they were siblings and would have reason never to be apart. Their first month living together, Mae had broken her jaw one twilight, after fainting, flu-ridden and underfed, during finals. Annie had told her to stay in bed, but Mae had gone to the 7-Eleven for caffeine and woke up on the sidewalk, under a tree. Annie took her to the hospital, and waited as they wired her jaw, and then stayed with Mae, sleeping next to her, in a wooden chair, all night, and then at home, for days, had fed Mae through a straw. It was a fierce level of commitment and competence that Mae had never seen from someone her age or near her age, and Mae was thereafter loyal in a way she'd never known she could be.

    While Mae was still at Carleton, meandering between majors, from art history to marketing to psychology-getting her degree in psych with no plans to go further in the field-Annie had graduated, gotten her MBA from Stanford and was recruited everywhere, but particularly at the Circle, and had landed here days after graduation. Now she had some lofty title-Director of Ensuring the Future, Annie joked-and had urged Mae to apply for a job. Mae did so, and though Annie insisted she pulled no strings, Mae was sure that Annie had, and she felt indebted beyond all measure. A million people, a billion, wanted to be where Mae was at this moment, entering this atrium, thirty feet high and shot through with California light, on her first day working for the only company that really mattered at all.

    She pushed open the heavy door. The front hall was as long as a parade, as tall as a cathedral. There were offices everywhere above, four floors high on either side, every wall made of glass. Briefly dizzy, she looked downward, and in the immaculate glossy floor, she saw her own face reflected, looking