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Reviewed by Aaron Kreuter
When Mae Holland, the protagonist in Dave Eggers’ newest novel, The Circle, is given the opportunity to work at the Circle, the internet and technology company that has replaced Google and Facebook, she is thrilled. Instead of working the dead-end job at her hometown’s power company, she gets to be a part of the company that has revolutionized the internet through TruYou, a program that amalgamates all of your online identities and makes identity theft and anonymity a thing of the past. If it wasn’t for Annie, her college roommate who rose fast through the company ranks and got Mae the job, she wouldn’t be here: “A million people, a billion, wanted 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.”
The Circle opens with Mae’s first day in her new position in ‘customer experience,’ and she is filled with hope and excitement. And at first it does seem like a dream job: the campus is full of beautiful architecture, sports facilities, cooking classes, musicians-in-residence, almost nightly themed celebrations. The food in the cafeteria is free; everybody is happy; and the health care, which Mae is able to get her MS-suffering dad enrolled in, is excellent.