G&G Book Review: 'The Power', by Naomi Alderman
All over the world women are discovering they have The Power.
With a flick of the fingers they can inflict terrible pain- even death.
Suddenly, every man on the planet finds they’ve lost control.
The Day of the Girls has arrived - but where will it end?
The Power, by Naomi Alderman
Winner of the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2017, The Power brings us a world in which roles are reversed and women hold authority over men; with increasingly disturbing consequences.
Exciting and thought-provoking, this speculative, sci-fi novel commands attention from the very beginning, when a teenage girl discovers her incredible ability. As a female reader, it evokes a sense of empowerment at an early stage. However, as increasingly violent acts befall the men and the world begins to fold in on itself, Alderman’s message becomes strikingly clear - the abuse of power is devastating to all, whether in the hands of men or women.
The novel focuses on four main characters, with London-born Roxy a stand out. Although some readers may curse Alderman for switching perspectives at crucial points in a character’s story, this narrative device allows us to experience the terrifying proceedings from multiple angles.
Alderman’s snappy, fast-paced style urges the reader forward and the count down to a global cataclysm keeps tensions high. Her language is accessible and uncensored, and injections of humour add balance to a sinister plot. Alderman’s descriptions are also vivid, strong and sensory, as can be seen in comparing the sound of electricity to ‘eggs frying’.
Illustration of Naomi Alderman's 'The Power' by Louise French
This is very much a twenty-first century novel. SMS conversations, Internet forums and other snippets of mixed media add an extra element of realism to the novel and draw the reader further into the futuristic world Alderman has created.
Both the beginning and the end of the novel are extremely clever and satirical, with a brilliant closing line leaving the reader satisfied.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll devour this novel in very few sittings and find yourself thinking about it long after you’ve closed the book.
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