Notes on... The Power, Naomi Alderman


Imagine a world where men are afraid of women, rather than women being afraid of men. Females have the ability to inflict immense pain or even kill with a single movement of the hand. How would this change society? Would we live up to the title of ‘the fairer sex’ with these capabilities? Naomi Alderman explores this in her fourth dystopian, sci-fi-ish novel, The Power. The shift affects everything, from personal relationships to politics and religion.
The ingenious plot is told from the perspective of both genders. As the global landscape changes inherently, behaviours become darker than we might have expected — bleakly, fatalistically dark. Alderman doesn’t see women handling dominion any better than their male counterparts have done for centuries. Corruption takes hold, and men are now the ones scared to walk alone at night.
It was always going to be a challenge for The Power to match our hugely high expectations. And though it won't complete the year in our book top spot, a final five finish seems very likely.