Men ruled the world… until they didn’t.
In The Power, something has caused the female population to develop a new organ—called a skein—which gave them the ability to deliver electric shocks with their hands. The strength of the shock depended solely on the whim of the one who wielded it—varying between a slight tickle to something powerful enough to kill. In the beginning, only girls had it, but they quickly discovered they could awaken the power in the women with a touch of their hand. Before long, the power was awakened in them all… and the men were afraid. The females were potentially dangerous and must be controlled until “the crisis” ended and things went back to “normal”… but it didn’t end. They couldn’t be controlled, and things were never “normal” again.
Women ruled the world now… and they were every bit as ruthless with their power as the men once were.
How many times has someone said things would be different if women ruled the world? It’s usually meant that things would be better—the world would be a kinder, gentler place. But what if it wasn’t? Alderman thoroughly explores how things would—and wouldn’t—change if the balance of power shifted in this chilling and oft-times terrifying dystopian world.
This book does an excellent job of showing how utterly ridiculous sexism is. It flips the switch, directing discriminatory words and actions toward the men in the story, rather than women. It also illustrates how absolute power can corrupt even those who set off with the best of intentions, and how easily innocent people can be hurt as a result of it.
With scenes of violence (including sexual assault/rape), this book isn’t for the faint of heart. Many of these scenes are disturbing, so readers should be aware of and prepared for that. Even so, I am still declaring this a book worth reading, because it definitely makes you think about how pervasive sexism is this world.
About the Book
LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILEYS WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION
What would happen if women suddenly possessed a fierce new power?
In THE POWER, the world is a recognizable place: there’s a rich Nigerian boy who lounges around the family pool; a foster kid whose religious parents hide their true nature; an ambitious American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But then a vital new force takes root and flourishes, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power–they can cause agonizing pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world drastically resets.
From award-winning author Naomi Alderman, THE POWER is speculative fiction at its most ambitious and provocative, at once taking us on a thrilling journey to an alternate reality, and exposing our own world in bold and surprising ways.
About the Author
Alderman was educated at South Hampstead High School and Lincoln College, Oxford where she read Philosophy, Politics and Economics. She then went on to study creative writing at the University of East Anglia before becoming a novelist.
Her literary debut came in 2006 with Disobedience, a well-received (if controversial) novel about a rabbi’s daughter from North London who becomes a lesbian, which won her the 2006 Orange Award for New Writers.
Author photo and bio via Goodreads.