The Power by Naomi Alderman

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The Power by Naomi Alderman is novel centered around a simple premise: what if women and girls could inflict physical pain? In this work of speculative fiction, girls discover an inert, electric power that can hurt and even kill people. Once activated, girls can ignite that power in women as well, the sudden shift of power upending a patriarchal world. A handful of characters show us the shift that takes place in the world through their own transitions: a rich Nigerian teen turns into a renowned freelance reporter; a foster kid ascends to the role of prophetess for the Mother, the feminine side of God; a small-town mother becomes ambitious politician; a tough London girl transforms into ruthless gang leader. The change is slow at first, but what begins as a joke in a nightly news segments explodes into massive social change. Women lead riots as girls are sent to specialized training camps in order to control their electric power. A fervent religious order springs up, claiming that the feminine aspect of God, long ignored, is ready to be worshipped. An entire country of women secedes. The microaggressions women have long been familiar with don’t disappear, but rather are directed to men. And the story is aided by various illustrations of matriarchal artifacts, online forums filled with trollish voices, and other archival documents, exploring this world not just through story but through an anthropological lens. The Power posits that absolute power corrupts absolutely, wrestling with issues surrounding gender, such as religion, politics, parenthood, violence, family, security, and loyalty, a fascinating, if not haunting what if.

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