Review | The Power – Naomi Alderman

Review | The Power – Naomi Alderman

Young women around the globe begin to develop The Power. The shift in control is fast as women seize dominance, men around the globe must come to terms with a new world order.

Author: Naomi Alderman | Publisher: Penguin | Year: 2016 | Fiction | Paperback

Book A Month 4 of 12 – Around the World young women suddenly begin to manifest the ability to project electricity from their bodies. Soon it is reported that these abilities can be stimulated in older women too. As the power becomes increasingly prominent, so too comes a shift in the balance of dominance between the sexes.

With The Power comes a new world order. Victims become predators. A flick of the fingers can result in discomfort, extreme pain or death.

Providing compulsive reading, Naomi Alderman has accomplished something truly special with ‘The Power’ by writing a science fiction novel that feels entirely grounded in reality. The prospect of women suddenly developing the ability to shoot electricity from their hands is almost secondary to the shockwave of change that develops around the globe.

Very quickly men must adjust to living in a woman’s world. Regimes and governments fall, women rise to positions of great influence, and the past regressions of men are confronted with retribution.

Alderman tells four distinct stories from the perspective of very different protagonists. Allie, the victim turned deity. How much is Margot willing to sacrifice to satisfy her political aspirations. Roxy who longed for acceptance and belonging her whole life suffers immeasurable betrayal at the hands of her own family. And Tunde, a single male at the forefront of journalism during this change in global dominance.

Walkaway - Cory Doctorow

Book A Month 2018 – Book 3

Cory Doctorow’s adult novel ‘Walkaway‘ is a slow paced and formulaic plod through a near future where society’s division of wealth is so great that many up sticks and leave.

As a husband and as the father of two young girls my foremost instinct is to love and protect my family. By default I’m the strength they rely on. Reading ‘The Power’ challenges that dynamic and forces the reader to consider that what we accept now from a very different perspective. What if I was not longer needed as the protector and provider for my family? What if my children were more capable of protecting themselves that I was? What if my wife was now my guardian and my free will at her mercy?

Naomi Alderman confronts male dominance head-on with this fascinating novel that turns everything we know on its head.

It’s hard to believe that a female dominated world could ever be as brutal as some of the depictions in this book suggest. Yet the author invisiges a reality where this is true. As shocking as it is to read accounts of men being raped, dominated and humiliated at the hands of their ‘betters’, it reflects the reality that these things are happening right now, except it’s usually women who are the victims.

By contrast it was joyous to live the moments where years of oppression and injustices are overturned as women seize control. How the transfer of power from young to older women literally sparks a revolution.

The Power is a truly triumphant novel that reflects today’s society and asks big questions about how ignorant we’ve become to the status quo.

Each character’s perspective on world events is fascinating and Alderman’s ability for portraying this radically different reality is evident. If I have to level criticism it is that the author fails to bring closure to the story.

Our protagonist’s journey’s are left largely incomplete. Alderman instead chooses to fill the final few pages with letters between a fictionalised version of the author and a confidante. The author of the book being male whilst we’re encouraged to maintain the premise of a female dominated world.

The last few paragraphs are particularly ironic when considering that my copy of the book bears a gold ribbon declaring that ‘The Power’ won the Bailey’s Women’s Prize For Fiction 2017.

Four out of Five

An important reflection on society, compulsive reading only lacking a satisfying conclusion. 4/5

Book A Month

‘Book A Month’ is a challenge of sorts. In 2017 I decided I wanted to read more, my biggest hurdle was making the time. As a husband and father working a full-time and running The Unheard Nerd, there aren’t a lot of hours left in the day… except for those hours wasted on the daily commute.

With a potential 40 minutes available to me each weekday, I set myself a challenge. To read the equivalent of at least one book a month. Finding that I was enjoying the escapism afforded on the misery that is London’s public transport at rush hour, I began finding time elsewhere in the day to leaf through a couple of pages. On my lunch break in the park, for half an hour before bed.

Before I knew it I had closed the last page on my twelfth book before the end of August – and with a sense of accomplishment I continued my new habit and totalled sixteen books in the year.

In 2018 my goal remains the same as it was at the start of the previous year. Twelve months, twelve books. And so it continues…

Next month’s book…

Revenger- Alastair Reynolds

Will Harrison

About the author | Will Harrison

Founder of The Unheard Nerd. A husband and father of two girls, Will is a fan of Nerdcore Hip-Hop, a comics fiend, a podcast host and champion of independent nerd culture. | Follow will on twitter: @TheUnheardNerd

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