The Power was my September 2017 Book of the Month selection, and it's garnered a lot of buzz for being a feminist dystopia in the vein of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. The world is turned on its head when teen girls suddenly find that they are able to produce electricity from a strip of muscle on their collarbones. They can awaken this power in older women as well, and women, now having the physical upper hand, quickly seize the power and authority held by men. An intriguing premise, well-executed in many ways--especially when Alderman is subtle about the ways that physical dominance affects the behaviors of those being dominated (men in the book, women in real life)--but the role switches felt like a stretch in other ways. I would have enjoyed the perspective of some women who were not trying to seize power, start a religious movement, or be part of the revolution, but the everyday characters who also would have been affected by the power were absent from this story.
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In The Power the world is a recognisable place: there’s a rich Nigerian kid who larks around the family pool; a foster girl whose religious parents hide their true nature; a local American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But something vital has changed, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power – they can cause agonising pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world changes utterly.
This extraordinary novel by Naomi Alderman, a Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year and Granta Best of British writer, is not only a gripping story of how the world would change if power was in the hands of women but also exposes, with breath-taking daring, our contemporary world.
Naomi Alderman Taps Into the Deeper Powers of Women (LitHub)
Alderman discusses her varied career in writing novels, video games, and television, how they play into her approach to world building, and her inspiration for The Power.