If you are a member of a book club, I beg you to make this one of your reads. A book you will need to discuss. 4/5 stars.
Thank you to Viking (Penguin Books) and NetGalley for giving me an e-copy of this book in return for an honest review.
The Power will be published October 27th.
The blurb: 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.
The Power is an excellent, compelling work of speculative fiction. In its best moments it reminded me of Margaret Atwood’s books and it came as little surprise that the author thanks Atwood in the acknowledgements. Please don’t be put off if you don’t usually read sci-fi or speculative fiction and give The Power a try.
I don’t want to get into what this book is about, because I think it’s best to go into it knowing as little as possible. However, I will say: THIS is a book club read. Not because it’s deeply philosophical or speculative (although it is)… but because it will spark a debate which could well rage for hours. Particularly if your book club members are from both genders. You have been warned.
I don’t currently attend a book club. However, I had such a need to talk about this book I subjected my poor husband to a full explanation of the book and then my ramblings about it. I don’t think he’ll ever ask, “What are you reading?” again!
I enjoyed how the story was told from several character viewpoints. And, although I was a bigger fan of some of the story strands than others, they were all integral to the story and intersected in interesting ways.
This is not a book for the faint-hearted. The author makes her main point – that power corrupts, no matter who wields it – in a variety of ways, some of which are brutal and unpleasant. Again, you have been warned.
And a final point, The Power has one of the most devastating final lines I’ve read for a long time. It made me laugh out loud and at the same time feel enraged/frustrated at how spot on it was. Superb.
Overall: If you want to read something which will leave you thinking about it for weeks after you finish it, this is the book for you. Be prepared for some disturbing content, though. And line up someone to talk to about it afterwards – you’ll need to!
Claire Huston / Art and Soul