THE EVERY by Dave Eggers (Hamish Hamilton £12.99, 608 pp)

THE ALL by Dave Eggers (Hamish Hamilton £12.99, 608 pp)


by Dave Eggers (Hamish Hamilton £12.99, 608 pp)

Eggers’s 2013 hit, The Circle, was an action-packed Silicon Valley send-up, named after a rapacious tech firm on a stealth mission to abolish privacy with a range of bright, shiny gizmos that lead citizens to sleep-walk into 24/7 surveillance. Does this sound familiar?

Delaney is the new employee. She’s a social media addict, and she has a plan to take down the company. Naturally, secrets are not safe in an environment run by The Circle. . .

It’s a captivating scenario to be sure. However, the story ends up strangely overstuffed and sadly lacking the thrill-a minute set piece that was the main attraction.

Nearly ten years down the line, it’s hard not to detect a grumpy- old-man whiff to Eggers’s satire, even if his essential theme — the tension between privacy and security — remains evergreen.


THE FELL by Sarah Moss (Picador £14.99, 192 pp)

THE FELL by Sarah Moss (Picador £14.99, 192 pp)

by Sarah Moss (Picador £14.99, 192 pp)

Set amid the pandemic and centred on a hill-walking accident in the Peak District, The Fell revives the multi-viewpoint narrative engine that Moss road-tested in last year’s Summerwater, which followed various residents of a Scottish holiday camp after the Brexit vote.

Kate, single mother, furloughed waitingress is supposed to be isolated but instead she snuck out at dusk under the watching eye of a neighbor for some fresh air. As her teenage son wonders where she’s gone, we cut to a divorced rescue worker whose plans for spending quality time with his daughter face yet another interruption.

As in Summerwater, the energy comes from how persuasively Moss shuttles between different perspectives to evoke the unvoiced desires that shape her characters’ everyday experience, all given added torque by Covid-era fears and frustrations.

It’s smoothly done, yet I can’t shake the sense that, creatively, she’s in a holding pattern, ready for a gear shift.


LILY by Rose Tremain (Chatto £18.99, 288 pp)

LILY by Rose Tremain (Chatto £18.99, 288 pp)

by Rose Tremain (Chatto £18.99, 288 pp)

Tremain’s latest historical novel ends not with the traditional list of acknowledgements, but instead a single ‘acknowledgement’ thanking the surgeon who saved her life when she was ill in 2019.

The book is also very punchy. An authentically melodramatic whydunnit set in Victorian London, it follows 16-year-old Lily, a wigmaker’s apprentice, reflecting on a terrifying childhood in a foundling hospital run by a laudanum-addled sexual predator.

As we are joined by Lily, we learn that Lily hides a grave offense. We toggle between Lily’s past degrading acts and her present narrative, where she contemplates handing herself over to the police.

Tremain, like any good 19th century novelist, is relaxed about all the unexpected events that lead to her final chapter. It’s aptly Victorian, too, that the sheer creepiness of a storyline involving a married policeman who falls for Lily is ultimately left for us to gauge.

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