Sunday, 30 April 2017

The Power by Naomi Alderman

Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 27th 2016 by Viking


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.

My Review:

As soon as I read the blurb for this book I was intrigued as to how the author would write it as it's an interesting concept. This is a cleverly written, dark, dystopian world that Naomi has created. The narrative is split between the 'present' and a distant future where two historians are debating a historical novel a man has written which challenges their understanding of the past. In the 'present' the story moves between Roxy, Tunde, Allie and Margot who all experience the sudden change in girls' abilities in different ways. I didn't find any of the characters particularly likeable but they were all very interesting due to their backgrounds, their reactions to the events in the story and the effect they have. The story is counting down to an unknown event, so sometimes months or years are missed which does help to keep the story moving.

I found the book a little slow to start with but then I was engrossed as the story got darker. The author creates some very disturbing scenarios of what could happen if power was flipped from men to women in this way. There are scenes that are uncomfortable and upsetting to read. Nevertheless, this book is a fascinating insight into our society and perceptions of gender roles. For anyone who is wondering, this book certainly doesn't paint a picture of sunshine and roses if women were suddenly more physically powerful than men but it is very cleverly done.

The author has taken a difficult concept and delivered. I've given this 4 out of 5.

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