Jon Baskin in The Point:
Dave Eggers’s The Circle is so carelessly written, so predictably plotted, and so thinly conceived that it threatens to make a mockery of anyone who would attempt seriously to review it. Granted it has been a long time—perhaps as far back as A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (2000)—since Eggers put much thought into his sentences, and granted this may in part be due to an intentional decision to prioritize topicality and accessibility over style. Still, even alongside recent efforts, like the comparatively elegant A Hologram for the King (2013), his newest novel distinguishes itself for its clumsy prose, its one-dimensional characterization, and the utter absurdity of many of the situations it asks its reader to imagine. It would be possible to spend the next several paragraphs offering evidence for these (harsh, I know) judgments, but this is already being done elsewhere—and even Eggers’s defenders admit that we should not expect to find gratuitous flourishes like “nuance or thoroughly rounded characters” in The Circle.
So why write about this book at all? Well, there is something interesting about The Circle: Eggers has, and not for the first time, picked a compelling topic.