Naomi Alderman’s novel ‘The Power’ is a well-deserved winner of the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction 2017. Naomi takes the idea of a change to which gender holds the reins of power and moves it along logical lines to a logical outcome, the end of the book gives this logical progression a wonderful twist.
One day young women wake a power which has been developing in them over a number of years which gives them the ability to channel electricity through them, storing it in an organ called a ‘skein’.
As this develops through the world, women start to control various power centres and men fight back at the gender inequalities raised by the change in their societal position.
One of the funniest, but most poignant changes is the change in gender positions of the newscasters throughout the book.
Written in an episodic fashion reminiscent of ‘World War Z’, the story develops at a cracking pace, in a horrifying but true way which I won’t spoil, but when the only model of holding power is that which has been developed in our patriarchal, capitalist society, the story’s outcomes ring sadly true.
A wonderful novel which should be read by men as well as women as a pointer to what is wrong in our current society, and as a well-written piece of speculative fiction.
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