The Power // Naomi Alderman


The power of deadly electricity is awoken in a female population and their society devolves into chaos as the women begin to take over.

A society suddenly experiences total role-reversal as power (literal, electric, deadly power) is passed through women across the world. Men become subordinates and women become presidents, holy leaders, and all-around badasses. What an awesome concept and what a thorough metaphor for a book of fiction. I naturally gravitate towards powerful women and girl power literature, so The Power is a natural complement.

I must say, at first, I was pretty bored. Alderman wrote this book through multiple perspectives, both male and female, and the first 100 pages is all set-up and a meet & greet with each of these narrators. Not my favorite thing, but I recognize that it can be a necessary evil. I persevered.

Then, it all gets really good. Despite a few misses like the out of place soft-core porn vibes that occasionally surface and the slow take-off, everything begins to fit together. The women take shape, form alliances, become queens and holy Mothers and presidents. I particularly enjoyed Roxy as a narrator, and the male journalist, Tunde, towards the end. 

After ruminating on this book for a few days, I have come to a conclusion. I didn’t love the book while I was reading it; in fact, I felt a sort of adverse obsession to finish. However, the overarching plot and the metaphor of women taking back power, using it to free themselves from the entrapments of a male dominated society, in particular sex slavery, subordination, and general misogyny, and their ability to gain political and social power with their newfound physical strength was stunning. Alderman is making a point here; Physical power started a cycle of dominance, and in this world, physical power can realign that dominance. There is no inequality of the mind at work here. So, watch out men, the world is due for some realigning. 

Overall? Recommend it. A nice complement to the rising wave of female power in the wake of Hillary Clinton and a good piece of fiction.

PUBLICATION DETAILS: Little, Brown. 400 pp. ISBN: 9780316547611. Fiction -> Science Fiction. Feminist.