Naomi Alderman’s The Power is the first book I read by her, and it’ll be the last. I can say that I haven’t read such an unsuccessful book in a long time. Interestingly, it has won awards and has received lots of praise. (I don’t trust book awards anymore.) Since it was my book club’s first book, I did not want to fail to read it. It was a complete torment. But on the other hand, it helped me see everyone’s taste in books in the club.
To summarise briefly, all young girls (and later all women) gain a strange power and the world changes entirely with it. With this power, women can generate electricity and transmit it wherever they want with their hands. On the one hand, some women are amazed at what they will do with such power, and on the other, some women do not hesitate to use this power as they wish. They open schools for women and girls in “developed” countries on how to use these powers, while in “underdeveloped” countries women take over or uprise and begin to rape men. Can you guess the underdeveloped countries? I bet you can.
Of course, there are groups of men who try to stop these women. Religion also occupies a great place in the story told through various characters. And it turns out that this power was there in the past. If it weren’t written in such a terrible way, it would be an excellent book. I don’t recommend this to anyone. There are great books out there, and this is not of them.
In The Power the world is a recognisable place: there’s a rich Nigerian kid who lounges 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 is an English novelist and game writer. Her novel, The Power, won the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2017.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: