Jessica Winter of Slate reports for NY1 on newly released book titles and the world of publishing in "The Book Reader."
Dave Eggers, the founder of McSweeney's Press and a National Book Award finalist, is best known for his debut, the memoir "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius." Now, he's written one of the most talked-about novels of the fall.
"The Circle," published by Knopf and McSweeney's, is named for a tech company of the near future that bears a strong resemblance to Google and Facebook. The Circle wants to make everything we say, do and buy on the Internet transparent to others, and they want to install cameras across the world to fulfill The Circle's mantra: "ALL THAT HAPPENS MUST BE KNOWN."
Eggers' book made waves last month when the New York Times Magazine excerpted it, marking the first time the magazine has ever put a piece of fiction on its cover. Before the book was published, another author, Katherine Losse, accused Eggers of plagiarizing her Facebook memoir "The Boy Kings." Eggers denied the charge, saying that he hadn't read any books about any tech companies before writing a book set at a tech company.
So it's unsurprising that "The Circle" isn't strong on technical details or recent tech history. It's unclear, for example, why the entire planet would be so eager to use The Circle's services, which broadcast your entire life to the entire Internet. But if the reader can suspend disbelief, "The Circle" is an entertaining, fast-moving and timely conspiracy thriller, arriving at a moment when the concept of online privacy is more embattled than ever.
You can find more reviews of new books at the Slate Book Review by visiting slate.com/books.