When the world's largest search engine/social media company, The Circle, merges with the planet's dominant e-commerce site, it creates the richest and most dangerous—and, oddly enough, most beloved—monopoly ever known: The Every.
Once a decade a book like The Every advances the frontier of literary excellence: a book that reflects our culture. Predicts our future. Worm-holes into our subconscious. Delivers artful and complex characters, metaphor, ideas, narrative. Provides percussive movements of levity, gravity, grace, suspense, hilarity. Encourages deep discussion. The book’s genius is also reinforced by Dave Eggers’s pitch-perfect satiric observations of modern (mostly liberal progressive) anxieties ... Plot-wise, The Every is simple ... Eggers leads us like the ghost of Christmas future ... The Every will feed the furnace of moral outrage on actual social media while satirizing that social media moral outrage on every page.
Kudos to Dave Eggers. In this follow-up to the admirable, big-tech, dystopian thriller The Circle (which you needn’t have read to enjoy the current book), he again squares up to the new enemies of everything untamed and brilliant in humankind. If you meant to read Shoshana Zuboff’s important and demanding The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, but were too worn down by surveillance capitalism’s intrusions to get round to it, The Every tackles the same concerns from a shared perspective of humanist outrage, in the form of a gulpable fictive entertainment ... The spectre of an overtly darker and less comic novel floats through The Every, which is equal parts science-fiction nightmare of the next five seconds and broad, Silicon Valley satire ... unabashedly partisan and polemical. Eggers’s adversary is the war on subjectivity, nuance and wildness being waged by the clever yet mediocre men and women who wield more power than any government in history. About halfway through, the plot leans into the outlandish, then teeters towards the apocalyptic. And what a feeble anticlimax may await our cowed species – going out not with a bang, but with a sad-face emoji ... At 577 pages – the number diagnosed by an odious lit-streamlining app as the limit of readerly tolerance – The Every is not as tight as The Circle. As momentum builds, the plotting gets clunky, while the novel’s comic exuberance means it lacks the cathartic brutality of, say, Nineteen Eighty-Four. But Eggers is a wonderful storyteller with an alert and defiant vision. His down-home decency means he pulls short of articulating a thought that recurred for me throughout reading The Every: threatened with spiritual extinction through conformism, sanitisation, shame, inanity and surveillance, it might yet be our evil, our perversity, our psychopathology, our hate that prove the saving of us.
Chilling ... Eggers has long established his almost supernatural storytelling skills, and this new book is positively mesmerizing and wholly original. The Every, a companion book to The Circle, will likely scare the bejesus out of readers. The vivid future he depicts feels fantastical but just realistic enough to make you want to unplug your smart speaker and toss your fitness watch.