Staff Picks: The Power by Naomi Alderman

Picked by Michelle N.

You've almost certainly heard one version or another of the famous Margaret Atwood quote: "At core, men are afraid women will laugh at them, while at core, women are afraid men will kill them." What if women weren't afraid of men's violence anymore? How would that change things? Naomi Alderman, who became Margaret Atwood's protege in 2012, set out to answer that exact question in The Power.

I started reading The Power last December--but I deliberately stretched out reading it, and ended up not finishing it until several days into the new year, so I’m counting it as my first book of 2018. I was enthralled with it and kept wishing I was reading it with someone so I’d have someone to talk about it with. The whole idea of how the world would change if women were more physically powerful than men--if they didn’t fear men--how women’s attitudes would change, how they would speak differently, act differently--what that would mean on an individual level, to them, to families and religions and countries and regions and cultures and the whole future--I couldn't stop thinking about it.

One may wonder, sometimes, what it would be like to be another gender. But *this* is about how it might be if people remained whatever gender they were, but the whole power structure got changed--and that change started within each individual woman, one woman at a time, until it became a tsunami.

I can't say much more than that without spoiling the plot of this very plot-driven book for you. It's not just plot-driven; the characters, unreliable narrators all, were real and vivid and I couldn't stop worrying about what was going to happen to each of them next (and what was going to happen to the world when it did). But the plot, with all of its twists and turns and peaks and troughs and frustrations and epiphanies, is definitely the focus.

In short: everybody needs to read this book. Five stars.

 
Tags: speculative fiction, science fiction, apocalyptic fiction, gender, michelle n,