Many Circles collects the best of Goldbarth's three earlier essay collections, along with several new pieces. Goldbarth, whom Joyce Carol Oates has called "a dazzling virtuoso who can break your heart," weaves through an array of fascinating topics (including alien life, Jewish history, pop culture, ancient and recent events, and quantum physics) to explore the greater questions of our existence and our universe. Each essay, in language and topic, is a rich and extraordinary adventure, full of surprise and epiphany. As Robert Atwan, editor of The Best American Essays series, has noted: "Theses essays are a whole new breed . . . Goldbarth has spliced strands of the old genre with a powerful new gene—and the results are miraculous."