Books like The Power, written by Naomi Alderman, don’t come along often. The last book that felt similar to Naomi Alderman’s 2016 novel was Margret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which was adapted into a TV show that fascinated popular audiences, critics and public intellectuals alike (even political protesters) with its provocative depiction of the societal oppression of women. Naomi Alderman presents a dystopia just as provocative as The Handmaid’s Tale, but by imagining a society that is almost the exact opposite of Gilead.
In the world of The Power, young women and girls begin to discover that they have the ability to generate electricity through their bodies, giving them the power to hurt and even kill fully grown men. At first, the government and religious institutions are terrified of this development and attempt to “cure” this seemingly miraculous power, going so far as segregating schools by gender to protect their male children. But as times goes on, and more and more women become political, religious and criminal leaders, society changes and conventional gender roles undergo a radical shift.
While this may sound as dark and dreary a read as The Handmaid’s Tale, Naomi Alderman proves to be an incredibly welcoming writer as she weaves a tale of several characters together in a way that keeps you eager to read more. But once you read the final page of the novel, it would be almost impossible not to have thoughts and questions rolling around your brain.
But you may ask: “Why are you recommending this book that was written three years ago? Is it still relevant?” Let me tell you dear reader, this mind-blowing book is going to turn into a TV show soon, and it seems almost inevitable that it will be just as culturally important as The Handmaid's Tale was. Reading The Power now would ensure that you are the resident expert on the potential future zeitgeist. Plus, you will be able to tell everyone that you were into The Power before it was “cool.”
All in all, The Power is both an entertaining and thought-provoking novel that will help fill the void as you wait for season four of The Handmaid’s Tale or Margret Atwood’s long awaited sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, The Testaments. Or, if you are just interested inchecking out some interesting stuff from your local KDL branch, give The Power a read. You won’t regret it.
Check out the Recommendations page to find out what else you should read next.