What would happen to the world if women were the dominant species that left men quaking in their boots. If men were the subject of repression, rape, gender inequality
and gender-favoured politics. This is the world that Naomi Alderman imagines; a complete inversion of the status quo.
Through a twisted development of evolution, women evolve an additional organ which allows them to emit electricity through the hands. This emerges first in teenage girls around 14/15 years old who through physical contact can awaken it in older women. The power, the thrill, is palpable.
As the internet becomes dominated with videos of women turning on men, sex traffickers turning on assailants, abused children on their parents etc… a mass segregation occurs. Boys are sent to all boy schools for their own safety and gendered political divides lead to astounding consequences. Suddenly you are exploring what it is to be a man in a woman’s world.
Alderman in her astuteness has observed the inequality in society and perfectly replicated it in her novel. You find yourself beginning to feel sorry for the men who are raped/beaten/oppressed, until you remember that this is still happening to women today. It works as a wonderful mirror drawing the readers attention to current global socio-political issues which parallel the book perfectly.
Alderman’s prose is fluid, but what is particularly enjoyable is the bookends of the novel – the letters between two authors, one of which is ‘Naomi Alderman’. The male author gently seeks approval of his novel, about women’s rise to dominance, from the former. The icing on the cake was the suggestion that he write under a female pseudonym in order to be published. I solidly enjoyed that part.
And it’s not just as thrill for the characters because as you sit there, you begin to imagine the possibility of a world ruled by women. You can almost *almost* see what’s coming, but it won’t be what you expected.
If you’re like me, your inner feminist will be thrilled by The Power. I commend this book to feminists, men and women alike. Even if gender politics aren’t your thing, you should give it a go. It remains a real eye-opener.