The Power by Naomi Alderman
|The Power by Naomi Alderman|
|Category: Literary Fiction|
|Reviewer: Sophie Diamond|
|Summary: Tense, interesting and (not to be corny) powerful. It's a book that really made me think and one I would recommend to absolutely everyone. Truly brilliant.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 352||Date: April 2017|
|External links: Author's website|
WINNER: BAILEYS WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2017
It started with the girls and spread. From younger woman to older woman, it was awoken and everything changed. Womankind now has the power of electricity in their fingertips and, slowly at first, the balance of power in the world starts shifting. We follow the stories of different people, in different walks of life, who see this from the very beginning and hurtle towards 'the event'. One thing in this startling new development is certain, patriarchal archetypes and chauvinist thinkers are in for the shock of their lives. Literally.
This book blew my mind. It's intelligent, sensitive and very, very thought provoking. Written with painful clarity, this book makes the best case for equality I have ever read. I want to stress that last bit. This book does not, I repeat, does not advocate radical female supremacy in any way. I can't speak for what Alderman intended when she wrote this masterpiece, but for me it was a reflection of society. I mean a literal reflection, like looking in a mirror where everything is the same but back to front. Read it, you'll see what I mean.
The story begins with emails exchanged between what appears to be colleagues, a man presenting the story as a history of the beginning of the power, leading up to the event. The characters we then follow are his fictional creations used to illustrate this history. I absolutely LOVED this approach to the story, it confused me at first but once I’d read the third email I’d cottoned on. it's pure brilliance. It's just another facet of what makes this story so unique.
Alderman's writing is superb, the characterisation is spot on which is not an easy thing to achieve when describing such disparate characters. You have young Tunde the Nigerian male journalist following the story, Roxy a young British female who suffers an early tragedy, Margot an ambitious American Mayor and mother and Allie, a modern day prophet. Their stories are woven together to create a colourful tale that spans the globe. I really like that Alderman spans the world with this, sometimes stories about major world-altering events feel like they're written in a vacuum (American script and fiction writers, I'm mainly looking at you) but Alderman carefully considers how this would not just effect society, but our global structure.
Parts of this book were painful to read. Alderman doesn't shy away from violence and abusive sexual conduct and some of the scenes are really shocking. But I didn’t feel like any part of that was gratuitous, it served a vital function. The shocking events (other than the actual shocking) unfold gradually and with a pace that feels realistic rather than overdramatised. To say that the premise of this book is fantastical, the story is very grounded, what has potential to be a comic book or a soap opera is actually an intelligent extrapolation in response to staggering events.
The only even slight imperfections I can name about this story is that it's a slow burner not a page turner but I urge you to keep turning those pages. It's definitely worth it.
Thank you to the publishers and the bookbag for my review copy.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Power by Naomi Alderman at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Power by Naomi Alderman at Amazon.com.
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