Title: The Power
Author: Naomi Alderman
Page Count: 342
I’d been putting this book off for a little while, mainly because I got it confused with another feminist novel called Vox and I kind of wanted to read that one more than this. I shouldn’t have put it off, though, because it turned out to be excellent. It’s probably not my favourite feminist work because The Handmaid’s Tale is fricken excellent, but it’s up there.
This reminded me of World War Z in a way, mainly because of the way in which it follows different snapshots to cover the overall outbreak. The difference is that in this one, the different characters actually bring the story to life, and it doesn’t get annoying when you keep jumping between perspectives because you feel as though the story itself is heading in an overall direction.
I think Alderman also did a great job of taking the idea to its logical conclusion, investigating the different ways in which people react to it. For example, some dudes decide that if women can zap each other with lightning, there’d be a market for people who wanted to watch women fighting each other. It also makes its way inevitably into pornography. I think with stories like this, what makes them so interesting and so well done when they’re done properly is that they feel realistic and truly reflect the world in which we live.
I think it’s also impressive that Alderman was able to present something in fiction that makes us ask questions about reality. Sometimes we need books and art like this to be able to discuss difficult topics or to confront unpleasant situations. At the same time, it can be difficult to write a novel that’s a good novel in and of itself, as well as being a good allegory. Luckily for us, Alderman was able to pull it off.
So to cut a long story short, would I recommend it? Of course I would. It was excellent.