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The power by Naomi Alderman
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The power (original 2016; edition 2017)

by Naomi Alderman

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1,323858,556 (3.81)181
Member:alwright1
Title:The power
Authors:Naomi Alderman
Info:New York, NY : Little, Brown and Co., 2017.
Collections:Read, Read but unowned
Rating:
Tags:fiction, speculative fiction, read in 2017, dystopia

Work details

The Power by Naomi Alderman (2016)

  1. 10
    Animal Farm by George Orwell (kk1)
  2. 11
    The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (sturlington)
  3. 00
    The City & The City by China Miéville (charl08)
    charl08: Both books ask questions about what we take for granted in our everyday realtors..
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English (83)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (85)
Showing 1-5 of 83 (next | show all)
The Power is a standalone science fiction story in which women develop the ability to generate electricity from their bodies, with sufficient power to be used as a weapon. It basically becomes a story in which gender roles are reversed. Now women have the strength and power to defend themselves or enforce their own desires, and men are seen as the weaker sex.

I had mixed feelings about this. The writing style is good and the story was interesting. I was never bored by it, and it did make me think. On the other hand, I felt like the story decisions were a little too obvious. It was a bit as if the author had made a list of all of the horrible things that have ever been done to women in various cultures throughout the years and found ways to insert them into this book, with men as the victims instead. It does get violent at times, especially with regard to rape and attempted rape, so this might be something that some readers would rather avoid.

There are thought-provoking messages here but, from a believability aspect, I didn’t always buy into it. My explanation for that is a little spoilerish, so I’ll mask it: It seemed like nearly all the women went off the deep end after gaining the power. I could see the extreme reactions happening in countries where women are currently severely subjugated, but I had more trouble buying into it elsewhere. I would have expected more women to stand up for the men and speak against repeating the mistakes of the past, and I would expect more of them to use their power to help protect the men from the crazier women. Also, given that the power mostly required a fairly close-range attack to be effective, I would have expected long-range weapons to be more effective at keeping the riots from getting so out of hand.

This is a case where I think the message took priority over plot. However, the book was entertaining and I think it has some worthwhile messages that will make people think. Not just the more obvious themes about the subjugation of a “weaker” sex, but also about how suddenly gaining power might corrupt people, how violence is perpetuated, and how people might be blinded into repeating past mistakes when they should know better. ( )
1 vote YouKneeK | Sep 14, 2018 |
TW: Rape, drug use, self harm

What I love about Alderman is her unflinching approach to gender roles in the dystopia she has created. This book is as brutal as The Handmaid’s Tale and will likely satisfy those people who insist the Atwood’s work is in some way anti-feminist. They are missing the point, of course, which is, IMHO, that either way we approach metaphorical takedowns of societal norms the solution will eventually go so far as to destroy the fabric of humanity. I particularly enjoyed the use of Meta framing devices, a clear nod to Atwood’s work. This book is riveting and will make you think hard about traditional binary gender roles.

I wanted to add that I felt the rape scenes were handled carefully but for this reason I will likely not reread the book.

One small note: I would have liked to see a discussion of nonbinary and trans identities in this context with specific regard to the recent idea that gender is fluid and that sex representation does not equate to gender. This was a gray area for me and I’d love to know how nonbinary readers felt about it. ( )
  hlwalrath | Aug 21, 2018 |
I really understand why it won the Baileys award. It totally deserved. Is a great book that makes you change the perspective of what will be if women really rule the world. I like everything how is the story narrated, how it develops, how it ends, each of the characters offer a different vision of the story that let you drive into the story. This is really in my ally and I can see it becoming a movie... ( )
  CaroPi | Aug 9, 2018 |
This book made me uncomfortable and that’s a good indicator that it’s doing something right. ( )
  simonspacecadet | Jul 29, 2018 |
This is one of those books that succeeds by the strength of its concept. The characters and writing style are fine, but it is in wondering about all the consequences of the idea at the core that the reader is pulled along. Alderman creates a lot of wrenching and haunting moments as the world she has imagined begins to unravel.

My main problems with the book are the heavy-handed framing device and interstitials that foreshadow the ending way too strongly. And setting the book mainly in Moldova of all places seemed to put a pretty narrow focus on what could have been a huge global epic.

Anyhow, it is much better executed than the similarly themed [b:Black|30057407|Black|Kwanza Osajyefo|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1461960085s/30057407.jpg|50468620], a graphic novel which explored a world in which only black people had super powers. ( )
  villemezbrown | Jul 28, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 83 (next | show all)
Alderman [...] imagines our present moment — with our history, our wars, our gender politics — complicated by the sudden widespread manifestation of “electrostatic power” in women. Young girls wake up one morning with the ability to generate powerful electric shocks from their bodies, having developed specialized muscles — called “skeins” — at their collarbones, which they can flex to deliver anything from mild stings to lethal jolts of electricity. The power varies in its intensity but is almost uniform in its distribution to anyone with two X chromosomes, and women vary in their capacity to control and direct it, but the result is still a vast, systemic upheaval of gender dynamics across the globe.
 
Alderman has written our era's "Handmaid's Tale," and, like Margaret Atwood's classic, "The Power" is one of those essential feminist works that terrifies and illuminates, enrages and encourages.
added by melmore | editWashinton Post, Ron Charles (Oct 10, 2017)
 
The novel is constructed as a big, brash, page-turning, drug-running, globetrotting thriller, one in which people say things such as: “It’s only you I’ve blimmin come to find, isn’t it?” and “You wanna stand with me? Or you wanna stand against me?” But it’s also endlessly nuanced and thought-provoking, combining elegantly efficient prose with beautiful meditations on the metaphysics of power, possibility and change.
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Naomi Aldermanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Thiele, SabineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Gli anziani andarono da Samuele e dissero:

"Dacci un re che ci governi".
E Samuele disse loro: "Questo sarà il diritto del re che regnerà su di voi: prenderà i vostri figli per destinarli ai suoi carri e ai suoi cavalli, li farà correre davanti al suo cocchio, li farà capi di migliaia e capi di cinquantine, li costringerà ad arare i suoi campi, mietere le sue messi e apprestargli armi per le sue battaglie e attrezzature per i suoi carri. Prenderà anhce le vostre figlie per farle sue profumiere e cuoche e fornaie. Prenderà pure i vostri campi, le vostre vigne, i vostri oliveti più belli e li darà ai suoi ministri. Sulle vostre sementi e sulle vostre vigne prenderà le decime e le darà ai suoi cortigiani e ai suoi ministri. Vi prnederà i servi e le serve, i vostri armenti migliori e i vostri asini e li adopererà nei suoi lavori. Metterà la decima sulle vostre greggi e voi stessi diventerete i suoi servi. Allora griderete a causa del re che avete voluto eleggere, ma il Signore non vi risponderà".
Il popolo rifiutò di ascoltare la voce di Samuele e disse: "No! Ci sia un re su di noi. Saremo anche noi come tutti i popoli; il nostro re ci farà da giudice, uscirà alla nostra testa e combatterà le nostre battaglie". Samuele ascoltò tutti i discorsi del popolo e li riferì all'orecchio del Signore. Il Signore disse a Samuele: "Ascoltali: lascia regnare un re su di loro".
1 Samuele 8
Dedication
For Margaret and for Graeme, who have shown me wonders
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Dear Naomi,
I've finished the bloody book.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
In The Power the world is a recognisable place: there's a rich Nigerian kid who larks around the family pool; a foster girl whose religious parents hide their true nature; a local American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But something vital has changed, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power - they can cause agonising pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world changes utterly.

This extraordinary novel by Naomi Alderman, a Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year and Granta Best of British writer, is not only a gripping story of how the world would change if power was in the hands of women but also exposes, with breath-taking daring, our contemporary world.
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When a new force takes hold of the world, people from different areas of life are forced to cross paths in an alternate reality that gives women and teenage girls immense physical power that can cause pain and death.A rich Nigerian boy; a foster kid whose religious parents hide their true nature; an ambitious American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. When a vital new force takes root and flourishes, their lives converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls and women now have immense physical power-- they can cause agonizing pain and even death. And everything changes ...… (more)

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