Monday, 1 May 2017

The Power by Naomi Alderman

"As for Margot: all she needs to know is that she can keep it under control.They're bringing in testing at work."

Another electrifying Bailey's prize shortlist novel that you simply have to check out. This novel turns the gender divide on its head and the boys are terrified. Rather than a preachy diatribe on the injustices of inequality, this is a thrilling read that quickly draws you in.

Young women from different  corners of the globe are discovering an innate ability to draw on an internal electrical power that in extreme cases can kill. The novel manages to explore the way in which power corrupts, and the way an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind.

The idea that the touch of a young woman could have such devastating outcomes, as illustrated by Roxy and her attempts to seek revenge for her mother's murder,  is such an interesting notion. It completely turns the table on the notion of the weaker sex. Rather than showing women as any better than men, poor behaviours abound on both sides of the gender divide, highlighting how similar we both are, our habit of making the most of our privileges and fighting tooth and nail when they come into question.

Engaging characters with a lack of black and white morality make this an especially intriguing read. Perhaps what makes the book feel so contemporary is the atmosphere  of outrage and hatred perpetuated by the social media obsessed, twenty four hour news cycle world we currently live in. I enjoyed the diversions from the narrative via the artwork, the letters and the internet forum; they act as an effective shorthand and provide and even greater sense of the world of the novel.

Many reviewers have drawn comparisons with Margaret Atwood's dystopian classic The Handmaid's Tale, and while I take their point, The Power also reminds me somewhat of  J.G.Ballard's work, albeit turned upside down on the gender spectrum.In any case, this would make an excellent book club selection as there is a lot to discuss. So my advice would be, go forth and get yourself a copy. Hopefully I've not given too much away ( I don't think I have) and I'd love to hear your thoughts once you've read it.

5 out of 5 electric shots are amped up.

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