When I first read The Power back in February, I had to rush read it as I was going abroad and I don’t like taking half read books with me on the plane ( yeah I can be fussy like that) and I didn’t absorb much but this time round I was quite stunned by this novel.
Alderman imagines a world where women are given the power to shoot lighting bolts from their hands, this give women automatic authority over everything. The book is told through various protagonists in the novel: A male reporter, a girl who becomes the supreme leader a gangster’s child and a female politician. In between the different perspectives there are illustrations of historical artifacts which lead to the development of female cults, which means that the novel itself (which is a subplot) is being written in the far far future and documenting events which we consider the present. It’s a clever trick.
Through these four characters Alderman portrays the power struggle of gender which exists in current society. In the past women were treated as object or scorned when in high positions – something which I do believe still happens today. Now in this new world men are given refugee camps, are persecuted and raped and Alderman does this in a thrilling and compulsively readable way.
I feel that The Power is an important book up there with The Handmaid’s Tale and Station Eleven, in that a world is created which makes the reader reflect about the present state of things today, In fact there is a character in the novel who is uncannily like how the media portrays Marie Le Pen, which goes to show how prescient this book is.
A Stunner of a novel.