PanThe New York Times Sunday Book ReviewThe Circle adds little of substance to the [surveillance] debate. Eggers reframes the discussion as a fable, a tale meant to be instructive … A sense of horror finally arrives near the end of the book, coming not through Mae’s eyes but through the power of Eggers’s writing, which we have been waiting for all along … Perhaps this is what Eggers wants to say: that evil in the future will look more like the trivial Mae than it will the hovering dark eye of Big Brother. If so, he should have worked much harder to express this profound thought. The characters need substance; Mae must be more than a cartoon.
PanThe New York TimesThe story moves not in flash-forwards or flashbacks but in flash-arounds, time as a Möbius strip: a twisted shape with a single surface and a path without exit, which circles endlessly. This leads to narrative and thematic cycles ... This intellectually imposed structure overwhelms the emotional undercurrent of the novel.