The Every – Dave Eggers – Audible Book Review
By: Dave Eggers
Narrated by: Dion Graham
Length: 16 hrs and 3 mins
What do you get when you combine two of the largest tech companies known to man? This book is set somewhere in the not-too-distant future, where the Circle (Facebook? Apple?) and the Jungle (definitely Amazon) have merged to form the biggest tech company in the world, called simply the Every. We meet our hero Delaney Wells as she is striving to get a job inside the Every. She is not your typical applicant as she has one goal from her time there, to destroy the company from within!
If you’re thinking this all sounds a little familiar, it’s because this is the follow-up to Eggers’ 2013 book, the Circle, which was later converted to the screen, in a film of the same name that starred Tom Hanks. The main protagonist of the first novel, Mae, is now the largely unseen leader of the Every.
One of the more interesting aspects of the novel is that Delaney moves between the various departments of the Every, which allows the author to comment on these subsections. We hear from the department specializing in smart speakers. A clever update uses them to check for domestic violence and child abuse, constantly listening for keywords at a small cost to your civil liberties. Another creation, Friendy, allows a person to check if another is lying on a video call. It is sold as a way of checking on the mental health of the person on the call but can be used for all types of nefarious means.
It is surprising that Eggers went ‘back to the well’ so soon after his last novel on the topic, but as the world of tech changes so fast, there are many new devices or ideas for him to explore. He is an interesting commentator on the subject of technology and while each new tool changes the world around us, they are sold in ways that are hard to argue with. Is a device that will reduce the level of domestic violence a good thing, even if it is effectively spying on people inside their own homes? The Trog movement is also explored, those who choose to live a life without technology, while the rest of the world is suspicious of their actions. It’s another clever and well-written piece from Eggers exploring how technology continues to dominate our lives.
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