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2014 Book Discussions > The Circle - Part 2 (February 2014)

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message 1: by Deborah (new)

Deborah | 983 comments This is for discussion of part 2 of the book.

message 2: by Daniel (new)

Daniel I'm trying really hard to avoid jumping on the bashing bandwagon, but then something will pop up and have me seeing red again.

Part II begins with the translucent, omnivorous and blind shark. Apart from being a symbol with all the subtleness of a sledgehammer to the side of the head, I'm once again floored by Eggers' lack of even basic research. Coelacanths are fish that live at a depth of about 200 metres, and the adjustment to pressure is such that they instantly asphyxiate when brought to the surface. The Marianas Trench is 10 km deep, so even a halfway point of 5,000 metres introduces an exponentially staggering amount of pressure to be compensated for. And yet here we have the technological marvel of these creatures being housed in aquariums which seem little more than oversized goldfish bowls. And built practically overnight? Even a basic home aquarium needs a bare minimum of three days to cycle.

I think this all loops back to Peter's earlier comments about disbelief. I don't think it's too much to ask that literary fiction demand as much of the author as it does of the reader.

So now that I've vented and broken my resolution not to bash the book, I promise that I will not post any more bashing on this thread. What I would really like to see at this point is some positive comments which seem to be sorely lacking here. Surely there must be someone who voted for The Circle and is finding it an enjoyable read. Anyone?

message 3: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Okay, I've found something positive to comment on. It's early enough in the part that I won't bother with spoiler tags, but be forewarned that there may be spoilers here.

When Mae goes transparent, many of the scenes which follow -- the awkward hallway conversation with Annie, her medical check-up, interrupting her parents -- are more along the lines of what I expected in this novel. These scenes dig at something deeper, a visceral reaction to invasion of privacy which evokes an emotional response. Of course, these scenes quickly devolve back into superficial flatness, but they are nonetheless bright sparks which hint at the novel that could have been.

Evelina | AvalinahsBooks (avalinahsbooks) | 116 comments The translucent shark - god, that one made me laugh. Poor turtle though.

However, this book is beginning to become more and more ridiculous by the minute. I'm beginning to think, maybe he is being satirical?.. But if he is, he doesn't know how to do it..
I'm 80% through, and still NOTHING has happened in the book. Also, what I find strange at this point is that everyone seems to be only agreeing to all those ridiculous incentives and asking "how can we do this faster?".. I mean.. when have you ever seen a bunch of the public agreeing on something, completely homogenously..? absurd.. there's like one comment about totalitarianism.. ONE. yeah. right.

message 5: by Sophia (new)

Sophia Roberts | 1324 comments Daniel wrote: "These scenes dig at something deeper, a visceral reaction to invasion of privacy which evokes an emotional response. Frankly it's a relief to discover characters that feel a little rounded. "

There are numerous missed opportunities to reflect - and deeply. Is this done deliberately? Is this book meant to be nothing more than a glib and superficial take on the glibness and superficiality of the online culture?

message 6: by LindaJ^ (new)

LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2318 comments Sophia, that is an interesting observation. On one hand, I can see it -- everything about the book is exaggerated in its superficiality. Perhaps it is satire that is exaggerating the worst of the online culture. I admit to having difficulty with most written satire, outside of Christopher Moore, who I find hilarious.

message 7: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2472 comments Sophia wrote: "...Is this book meant to be nothing more than a glib and superficial take on the glibness and superficiality of the online culture? ..."

That's where I find myself leaning, Sophia -- although "nothing more than" may not be quite the right choice for something that seems to bludgeon its points home. Perhaps, despite the hammering, the book is somehow, as Linda suggests, superficial about superficiality -- which may be linked to Daniel's comments about whether Eggers did his homework research (biology, technology, corporate campuses) and whether he constructed his anecdotes so as to spark the desired emotional responses.

I found interesting these words from an Amazon review:

"Before reading this novel - which really brings up a lot of questions - I was of the opinion that surveillance was alright - I have nothing to hide, I hadn't done anything wrong. But after having read this novel !!!"

So maybe Eggers does succeed with at least a certain segment of readers. I am often amazed at the naïveté one encounters about the safety of "having done nothing wrong."

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