Dave Eggers has finally broken his silence on Circlegate, and accusations from Kate Losse, the author of 2012's Facebook memoir The Boy Kings. Last month, Losse claimed in a Medium post that Egger's The Circle, out next Tuesday, was just a rewriting of her book. Eggers, however, said he's never even heard of it.
In a statement to TechCrunch released today, Eggers wrote "I want to make it clear that I have never read and have never heard of her book before today." In fact, as Eggers has said in the past, he didn't read any books about tech companies or about working at tech companies. And though he lives in San Francisco, he didn't even visit Facebook or Google headquarters.
Eggers also brought up a good point. We can't prove that Eggers didn't read Losse's book, but we know for a fact that she hadn't read The Circle when she first accused him. "Because The Circle has not been released, it’s my understanding that Kate Losse has not read my novel yet," Eggers said, possibly with some sass. "So I trust that when she does read it she’ll understand that I have not read, and certainly never lifted anything from, her book."
In her Medium post, Losse wrote "From all appearances, it is an unnervingly similar book, and I wrote it first [...] The difference is that Eggers is a famous man and I am not." Those "appearances" did not include a thorough reading of both texts, and Losse confirmed with The Atlantic Wire last month that she had not read The Circle at that time.
After an adapted excerpt of The Circle appeared in The New York Times Book Review last weekend Losse edited her prior post with a link to a new post, where she annotated passages of her work with sections of The Circle. Her comparisons included noting that both she and Egger's protagonists worked in customer support/customer experience jobs. Also, the names are kinda similar, phonetically. "Her name eerily echoes mine in its phonetic structure: Katherine Penney Losse/Maebelline Renner Holland & in short form as well: 'Kate Losse/Mae Holland,'" she wrote.
As skeptical as we are about Losse's claims—at times it reads like an attempt to get us to remember a book that was released a year ago—we agree that The Boy Kings was overlooked. "Readers will have to wait until Oct. 8 to buy the novel.The more relevant question is why they have had to wait so long for a work that fully challenges the orthodoxies of our information era," Dennis K. Bermann wrote in his Wall Street Journal review of The Circle last month.
Losse could argue that that book, one that "fully challenges the orthodoxies" of the present, is already available, and that she wrote it. But doing so by accusing Eggers of plagiarism is a slightly different matter.