Lee Konstantinou

Lee Konstantinou is an assistant professor in the English department at the University of Maryland, College Park, and an associate editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books. He co-edited the essay collection The Legacy of David Foster Wallace with Samuel Cohen, and wrote the novel Pop Apocalypse

Recent Articles

Dave Eggers Is Worried about America

The famously hopeful novelist's move to dystopian fiction in The Circle.

 

AP Images/Tina Fineberg
I n his 2007 novel Spook Country , William Gibson has one of his characters, a mysterious entrepreneur named Hubertus Bigend, explain to the book’s protagonist, investigative journalist Hollis Henry, that espionage and other intelligence work are “advertising turned inside out.” When Hollis asks what this cryptic observation implies, Bigend answers with the malevolent flourish of a Bond villain, “Secrets … are cool. … Secrets … are the very root of cool.” “Secrets are cool” could be the tagline of Dave Eggers’s new novel, The Circle . At a moment when eavesdropping programs are exposed almost daily, the novel suggests that secrets might not be such a bad thing after all. As our lives become more public, we might need more privacy, not less. Total transparency—when mixed with soft surveillance, Big Data analytic tools, and the gamification of everyday life—might become, in the words of one of the novel’s characters, “a totalitarian nightmare.” Over the past decade or so, Eggers has...