by Naomi Alderman
Genres: Fiction / Magical realism
“…she knows she has enough left in her skein to stun a man, at least, maybe more – can feel the power sloshing across her collarbone and up and down her arms. The thought makes her laugh again. She finds she’s doing that more often now, just laughing. There’s a sort of constant ease, as if it’s high summer all the time inside her.“
What if the power were in women’s hands?
One day, women discover they have the ability to deliver electric shocks and with them, terrible pain and even death. And with that, the tables start to turn. Through the eyes of four characters we watch the world get flipped on its head. For better or for worse, everything has changed.
I’ve used the word ‘satisfying’ to sum up my experience reading this book, but really there are so many other words I could have chosen to use. ‘Important’. ‘Relevant’. ‘Genius’. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book before that was so of its time.
The Power presents a world in which the balance of power between the sexes is turned 180° overnight, and instead of finding the middle-ground equality that feminists dream of, humanity is presented with a mirror of what we have always known. Young women start to discover a new ability to inflict pain with a flick of their hands. Baby girls are now born with this ability. As the knowledge is passed on to older women as well, the female race rises up strong and confident. With the power in their hands, literally, it looks like true gender equality could be on the cards once and for all. But along with this newfound state, extremist men’s rights groups also start to form, as do fanatical mobs of women intent on dishing out revenge and justice for everything that once was.
As a female, in parts this book is gleefully satisfying, but in other ways it’s terrible and sad. It asks the questions- What if the tables were turned? Would the world be a better place? Would we learn from our past mistakes? Is true equality really achievable?
This book is masterfully written and extremely thought-provoking. There is no better time for this book to come in to existence, and I’d encourage anyone who believes in feminism and gender equality to give it a read. If you’re a fan of The Handmaid’s Tale, you’ll also resonate with this book. It asks more questions than it answers, it is confronting and maddening. But ultimately, the thought you’ll be left pondering is, When it comes to the balance of power, what do I want the world to look like?
Did not like it – It was ok – Liked it – Really liked it – It was amazing