Naomi Alderman’s The Power

The Power just WON the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction! It’s high time for a review:

In The Power, the whole world changes completely. For once, women are the strongest and this book tells the story of what happens next. It’s a ‘historical’ novel set in the future, describing the consequences of women being able to produce electricity themselves and shock – even kill – people if they touch them. 

Have you ever wondered what would happen when women would rule the world? Would it be a peaceful place filled with calmness and serenity? If so – think again. The Power shatters this nice, pink-clouded dream entirely. And I absolutely loved it for doing that.

The book mainly follows Roxy (a British gangster queen), Allie (who, after years of abuse, turns into some sort of goddess), Margot (an American politician out to get more and more power), and Tunde (a young man and journalist who is covering the changes around the world). The story switches every 5-10 pages or so to another person’s perspective, which I found very intriguing and much praise to Alderman (and her editor) for being able to pull this off.

Funnily enough, the Power does not start with the story about these characters. It starts with emails sent by ‘Neil’ to Naomi about this manuscript. Apparently, he has written a novel based on the findings of archeologists. He describes the moment when women found out they had the power, something that is years and years in the past.

In the beginning of this book, I felt that the Power was a great thing. Women could finally defend themselves. But then it all changed. It turned darker and darker and became very, very real as I realised the horrible truth.

Besides shattering my peaceful dream and showing what a world ruled by women would look like, this novel shines a light on our current lives. As Tunde thinks:

“When he walked past a group of women on the road – laughing and joking and making arcs against the sky – Tunde said to himself, I’m not here, I’m nothing, don’t notice me, you can’t see me, there’s nothing here to see.

In his journal, he wrote: ‘For the first time today on the road I was afraid.'”

How many times have I had exactly the same experience as Tunde? And why? Because women are weaker? I think this novel gives the following answer:

Because power is always abused

 And why is power abused you ask? Because people can, that’s why.

This book confused me completely. I’m frustrated because of the world we live in and I’m sad because I think The Power is right. And I absolutely loved it.

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2 Replies to “Naomi Alderman’s The Power”

  1. I really need to keep up with literary prizes. I plan to take note of some dates – especially for the Baileys Prize – and perhaps read the longlist next year 🙂 Do you like to keep up with prizes? This book sounds interesting! Though I have been put off a little by a comment I saw on someone’s review. Are there Muslim women in the book? I don’t want to go on a full rant, just in case I misunderstood the comment LOL. I’m glad you enjoyed the book 🙂 It’s such a good feeling when a story gets you thinking and feeling confused!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do like prizes as they brought my attention to some amazing books (How to be both by Ali Smith for example). However, I think we still should be critical when reading them. Sometimes, there are other reasons why a particular book won. I’ve seen it a lot that the prize/judges want more diversity in their winner history and thus choose a particular writer instead of the ‘best book.’ So I always try to keep these considerations into account 🙂 As for this book, I think it is a great book as it reflects our current struggles. There are indeed Muslim women in the book. The book does talk a lot about religion, one of the main character even starts a sort of Christian sect. But because I’m not religious, I probably read the book very differently than the person from the comment did. Could you send me this comment/review? I always want to know what other people thought about the books I’ve read and the more negative ones are usually the most interesting to read 😉

      Like

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