Stephen King once spoke of an “a ha” moment that readers will sometimes experience – that moment when, as an aspiring writer or editor, you’re reading a book and you think to yourself, “How in the world did this get published? I could write something 10 times better than this.” Eggers’The Circle was that moment for me. How this book ever got beyond the editing process is puzzling.The Circle is simply evidence that once a writer becomes an established author, they can get away with a lot of questionable work.
I have more than a few issues with the novel, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll keep it to a handful of short bullet points.
Novel Summary: A clueless, one-dimensional young woman takes a dream job at a Google-ish company, only to learn that technology isn’t all fun and games.
• Clichéd Dystopian Elements: I love a dystopian storyline just as much as the next person, but if I had to read one more preachy monologue about the dangers of a technologically dependent society fixated on total transparency, I was going to throw my Kindle across the room.
• Eggers Needs to go Back to “Show, Not Tell” School: My head hurt from being bashed in by the hyper-explanation of everything. I get it, technology is out of control, and you have some sort of unresolved weight issues that have manifested themselves in the outright loathing of one of your supporting characters. Let’s move on.
• Robotic Dialogue: Eggers is clueless when it comes to writing a woman. Regardless of who was speaking, the dialogue sounded like two awkward bros forced to talk to one another. This wouldn’t have been as much of an issue if his protagonist wasn’t female. I mean, bros will be bros, I guess.
• Not a Young Adult Book: Due to the elementary writing style, I actually thought this was meant for the YA crew. Nope. Which leads me to the next point…
• The Climax: The protagonist’s ultimate revelation comes at the very awkward expense of her strongest supporters. Much like her father, I was left hanging.
- The Ending: Here is the conversation I imagine Eggers had with his publishers when he still had about 200 more pages to write:
Publisher: “Hey Dave, we need you to wrap this up so we can get it out in time for the holiday rush. Could you close out the story in less than 10 pages?”
Eggers: “Well, I don’t know. I just hit a rather important part in the plot and I have more than another 150 pages to write before getting to any sort of acceptable resolution.”
Publisher: “Doesn’t matter. End it.”
Eggers: “It’s going to be a really terrible ending. There are so many loose ends that won’t be….”
Publisher: “Finish it.”
And there it is. If you’ve read the book and want to share your opinions, feel free to leave a comment below.
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