The Power by Naomi Alderman
I heard about this book through Instagram. I have a bookstagram for this blog, dedicated to my love of books and I follow lots of similar bookish accounts. I kept reading great things about The Power – that it was an impactful feminist novel, a stunning dystopian read, even that it was great science fiction, so I was more than intrigued. I downloaded it as an audiobook and as the seductive narrator was a winner after the first few chapters, (I can’t listen if the narrator is a dud) I kept on listening.
I am happy to say I was not let down by the hype, this book fits into all of the genres mentioned above, as well as being a brilliant page-turning thriller.
The Power imagines a world where, when girls reach the traditional age of puberty (around 15) a great power is awoken in them – the ability to conduct electricity. This leads to a physical dominance over men and sees women using this literal power to assert themselves and shake up traditional gender roles.
We are introduced to four lead narrators who each tell their story – three very different women and a man: English Roxy, daughter of a gangster with a sharp tongue and shady connections; Allie, an American girl in foster care who listens intently to the voice in her head, as it tells her how to take control of her life and eventually become Mother Eve; Margot, an American politician who has ambition, drive and two daughters to look out for and Tundi, a Nigerian journalist who is documenting the emergence and growth of the power and the effect it is having on communities across the world.
I really liked the structure, as along with switching between the narrators – which was seamlessly done – the novel was bookended by letters from the ‘author’ of the book, Neil, to Naomi Alderman, who is reading a draft of his novel and offering advice. This add wonderfully funny, tongue-in-cheek moments that elevate the novel, as well as making you think even further about the key themes in the main narrative.
The Power is very much one to add to your must-read list.
Note: This book is not to be confused with a self-help book of the same name, which multiple people thought I was referring to when recommending this to them. Leading to quite a confused conversation.