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The Power by Naomi Alderman

The Power (2016)

by Naomi Alderman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,4871554,085 (3.8)270
Suddenly - tomorrow or the day after - teenage girls find that with a flick of their fingers, they can inflict agonizing pain and even death. With this single twist, the four lives at the heart of Naomi Alderman's extraordinary, visceral novel are utterly transformed.
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» See also 270 mentions

English (153)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (155)
Showing 1-5 of 153 (next | show all)
CW: rape and murder of men

While I was intrigued by the premise of the book, I really wish I had been warned ahead of time that there would be a graphic rape and murder scene, as women started to relish the power they had over men and used it to get what they wanted. The scene in question is from about page 313 to page 323, in the paperback version of the book. ( )
  Booksunknown23 | May 18, 2020 |
I *could not* stop listening to this novel, that’s how good it was. In fact it was brilliant! Seriously, drop everything now and go read or listen to it. This novel deserves ALL its awards. And, the author is the narrator, which was PERFECTLY done.
This review sums up how I feel about this novel:


5 huge stars, and recommended to everyone.
(TW: rape scene, be warned).

( )
  stephanie_M | Apr 30, 2020 |
I really enjoyed this book, devouring it where I could. Loved the premise, though I disagreed with some of the choices she made in the direction it took towards the end.

I liked her visualisation of power as an organic network, branching and rebranching. I also enjoyed the insertion of "historical artefacts" depicting women with the power. It was incredibly easy to read. I even liked the correspondence bookending the main story, with the evolutionary psychology theories about why women are more aggressive than men (to protect babies, obviously) and talking about avoiding being pigeonholed as a "male author". It definitely made me laugh.

I think there's an assumption made about the "cycle of abuse" that, first of all, it is a cycle. It's taken as a given that abuse causes more abusers, and while many abusers were abused, many of the abused (esp. female) do not become abusers - whether this is because of current power dynamics or what, I can't say. I don't think that things would flip so quickly that all these women with recent memories of abuse would become what they hated. Perhaps I'm too optimistic.

There was also very little talk of motherhood, which I was a little sad about because I think it would have been fascinating to see how that could change under those circumstances. Also a sad lack of women's same sex relationships, which I'm sure would flourish.

I found it interesting that she mentioned that there was porn of this new ability, without addressing the complete change that the porn industry would have undergone had women developed this power. An industry with a large base in degradation of women and ignoring their consent could not survive in that form after such an event, but I imagine the images would survive as a power fantasy for the men - contraband they would have dealt around to deal with the complete collapse of the system they'd lived with for so long.

Obviously she had a limited amount of space to explore every issue, and was focusing more on a few key players to drive the story, which I do understand. I'm just pointing out what I'd explore more given a chance. The ending wasn't awful - I thought she struck quite a good balance between personal battles and politics/global events.

It didn't feel at all like the historical document (even historical fiction) that it was emulating, aside from the few pictures and correspondence telling you what it was. This wasn't a problem, and probably for most people that would be preferable. It was an easy read that I'm going to recommend to others.

I had a great time reading this book. The pure exhilaration at the beginning was incredible, and I didn't want to stop reading because I'd leave that world. To me, that's a great compliment for a book, so I'll leave my review at that. ( )
  RFellows | Apr 29, 2020 |
A fabulous book that turns the world upside down, challenging ideas on gender and the roles men & women play! A fascinating take on women gaining control in a male dominated world. Will certainly get you thinking about the human race and whether a word where roles are reversed would make a difference. ( )
  ShadyAcresLibrary | Apr 29, 2020 |
Borrowed from Chris Khayi Thomas ( )
  DougLasT | Apr 27, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 153 (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.

» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Naomi Aldermanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bre, SilviaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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
For Margaret and for Graeme, who have shown me wonders
First words
Dear Naomi,
I've finished the bloody book.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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