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The Power by Naomi Alderman
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The Power (edition 2019)

by Naomi Alderman (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,8262212,759 (3.77)279
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.
Member:mring42
Title:The Power
Authors:Naomi Alderman (Author)
Info:Back Bay Books (2019), Edition: Illustrated, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:read

Work Information

The Power by Naomi Alderman (Author)

  1. 10
    Red Clocks by Leni Zumas (sturlington)
  2. 00
    Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years : Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times by Elizabeth Wayland Barber (EerierIdyllMeme)
    EerierIdyllMeme: A book about achaeology giving evidence that common assumptions about gender roles are not borne out by the evidence, and a near future narrative framed as a story told from the far future based on archaeology exploring gender roles and possible far future assumptions about them.… (more)
  3. 00
    Shit Cassandra Saw: Stories by Gwen E. Kirby (Amy_Tector)
    Amy_Tector: A couple of the stories had a very "The Power" feel, but funnier.
  4. 12
    The City & The City by China Miéville (charl08)
    charl08: Both books ask questions about what we take for granted in our everyday realtors..
  5. 04
    Animal Farm by George Orwell (kk1)
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» See also 279 mentions

English (220)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (222)
Showing 1-5 of 220 (next | show all)
Science fiction dystopian novel that follows the lives of four primary characters to show how the world might change if women were physically stronger than men. In this dystopian future, women have a skein near their collarbones that enables them to conduct an electrical current, capable of inflicting great harm or even death. This novel provides one view of the impact of such a change on religion, politics, crime, education, social mores, families, and culture. It is cleverly concealed in the format of a “book within a book.”

I thought the author came up with an extremely creative premise. I found it engrossing, especially Tunde’s story, which was the only segment from a male character’s perspective. I thought the characters were rather thinly drawn, and the writing style very straight-forward.

The extreme violence against men in this book can be shocking until one realizes that these men are being treated in the same manner that females are currently treated in the real world. Content warnings include: descriptions of slaughterhouse processing, extreme violence (murder, rape, assault, torture), a profusion of profanity, and a variety of sex-related topics.

I found it extremely thought-provoking, though I would not classify it as a pleasant reading experience. Recommended to fans of dystopian fiction and book clubs, as I imagine it could engender strong opinions and interesting discussions.

A role reversal dystopia that provides a rather grim view of human nature. ( )
  Castlelass | Oct 30, 2022 |
Fantastic. (I noticed that more than a few men did not like this book, lol.) I wonder if women like me, who have been abused, rate this book higher than those lucky few women who have not been abused? I started writing a short story called"El día de los machos," where, one day a year, you could do violence to a macho and suffer no repercussions. I didn't finish it, so I'm glad that Alderman did what she did here.

What's worse? The patriarchal world we have, where women are oppressed and treated cruelly by men, or some version of what Alderman created here, where something tilts evolutionally, and women suddenly have power over men. Sure, the men wouldn't like it, but who's to say it couldn't work? Women don't have testosterone, which makes men violent and aggressive. Women have nurturing. On the other hand, many women are jealous and competitive with other women. Gender sure does suck.

Nice work, Naomi Alderman! ( )
  burritapal | Oct 23, 2022 |
Great concept but I found the 4 POVs that tell the story very uneven, in the sense that they seem to bounce back and forth between being interesting and boring. For the most part, all 4 POVs start off strong with the exception of Roxy's (who just wasn't an interesting character at all, imo) but they all sort of falter at various parts. ( )
  serru | Oct 6, 2022 |
I don't know...I liked the idea behind this book and I thought the story itself occasionally rose to the level of good but it was too disjointed and uneven. As a work of dystopian fiction it hits all the right notes but I felt like Naomi Alderman was trying to write a book that was episodic like World War Z but also carried a coherent story and followed specific characters from chapter to chapter...and somehow this just didn't work.

The book does not come together at the end and I felt like the various characters' stories were not fully resolved in a successful way...I felt cheated and disappointed.

The little Canticle for Leibowitz-ish, 5000 years later tidbit at the end did nothing to help and did not feel like a proper ending to me.

This was a Now Read This book club selection but, for me, so far, the one I dislike the most. ( )
  DarrinLett | Aug 14, 2022 |
A futuristic novel that gave me plenty of food for thought. When women around the world develop a terrifying power - the ability to electrocute with their hands - the global balance of power is radically shifted. Women come into positions of power and the world turns into a different place. This is a book that challenges and questions gender dynamics, and I would highly recommend it for those interested in those topics. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Jul 19, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 220 (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 (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alderman, NaomiAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alderman, NaomiNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Andoh, AdjoaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bre, SilviaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burton, NathanCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fenney, EmmaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Judd, ThomasNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nightingale, PhilipNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stoddard, JustinePhotographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thiele, SabineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
The people came to Samuel and said: Place a King over us, to guide us.

And Samuel said to them: This is what a King will do if he reigns over you: he’ll take your sons and make them run with his chariots and horses. He’ll dispose them however he wants: he’ll make them commanders of thousands or captains of fifties, he’ll send them to plough, to reap, to forge his weapons and his chariots. He’ll take your daughters to make perfume for him, or cook his food or do his baking. He’ll take your fields and your vineyards and your olive groves – oh, he’ll take the very best of those and give them to his cronies. He’ll take much more. A tenth of your grain and your wine – those will go to his favourite aristocrats and faithful servants. Your manservants and your maidservants, your best men, your donkeys – yes, he’ll take those for his own use. He’ll take one tenth of your flocks and you yourselves will become his slaves. On that day, believe me, you will cry out for relief from this King, the King you asked for, but the Lord will not answer you on that day.

But the people would not listen to Samuel. They said: No. Give us a King over us. So that we can be like all the other nations. Give us a King to guide us and lead us into battle.

When Samuel heard what the people said, he told it to the Lord.

The Lord answered, Give them a King.

1 Samuel 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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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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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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