The Power

The Power

A Novel

Large Print - 2017
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One of the New York Times 's Ten Best Books of 2017 A Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2017 One of the Washington Post 's Ten Best Books of 2017 An NPR Best Book of 2017 One of Entertainment Weekly 's Ten Best Books of 2017 A Bustle B est Book of 2017 A Paste Magazine Best Novel of 2017 A San Francisco Chronicle B est Book of 2017 Winner of the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction

One of President Obama's favorite reads of 2017
" The Power is our era's The Handmaid's Tale ." --Ron Charles, Washington Post
"Novels based on premises like the one at the core of The Power can quickly become little more than thought experiments, but Alderman dodges this trap deftly -- her writing is beautiful, and her intelligence seems almost limitless. She also has a pitch-dark sense of humor that she wields perfectly." --Michael Schaub, NPR
A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
An Amazon Best Book of 2017
**WINNER OF THE 2017 BAILEYS WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION**

What would happen if women suddenly possessed a fierce new power?

In THE POWER, the world is a recognizable place: there's a rich Nigerian boy who lounges around the family pool; a foster kid whose religious parents hide their true nature; an ambitious American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But then a vital new force takes root and flourishes, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power--they can cause agonizing pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world drastically resets.

From award-winning author Naomi Alderman, THE POWER is speculative fiction at its most ambitious and provocative, at once taking us on a thrilling journey to an alternate reality, and exposing our own world in bold and surprising ways.

Publisher: New York : Little, Brown and Company, 2017.
Edition: First North American edition.
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9780316547611
0316547611
Branch Call Number: SCIENCE FICTION ALDERMAN
Characteristics: 386 pages : illustration ; 22 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

[Read a book set in the future] This COULD be classified as dystopian but, as the author recently said on NPR, "only if you're a man." See what queen-of-feminist-speculative-fiction Margaret Atwood is raving about!


From the critics


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j
JLMason
Jul 14, 2018

I agree with uncommonreader’s comment below. I will add that the most striking part of the book is the fictional letters between the female editor “Naomi” and the book's male author, written in the female dominated society of the future. The gender reversal in their conversation - the condescending tone, stereotyping, historical context of roles - is a mirror of our society. It’s quite jarring.

u
uncommonreader
Jun 22, 2018

This speculative fiction won the Bailey's prize. While it is quite readable, in the end, what did it have to say? That people exercise power because they can? I did not think that Alderman knew how to end the story.

r
Ratonai3
Jun 12, 2018

The premise was good as is the writing. I could not bring myself to care about the characters.

m
mckenzieseaux
May 30, 2018

The Power has an intriguing concept and I could not put it down for the first half. However, the ending felt unfinished and underwhelming. It was good but it definitely had potential to be enthrallingly excellent, and did not quite live up to those expectations. Otherwise, seeing the various effects of the societal power shift from patriarchy to matriarchy was fascinating.

p
PearlyBaker
May 13, 2018

I guess it just came out okay for me. Maybe it was just a weird time in my life. A transition period where my mind was flying 1000 different ways at once with ageing friends facing chronic illness, biotoxins, chronic pain or autoimmune disorders. Or maybe, unlike all my like my break-up excuses, it really wasn't me but the fault of the book (ie girlfriend) and I'm just trying to soften the blow on the author because I don't want to hurt their feelings and certainly don't want, as a constant reader them to ever, ever, ever stop writing. I don't know. It's a tough call but Obama liked this one I'll take his word since he and I were about the only two people I knew who didn't believe Colin Powell's fear tactics regarding Iraq on the weaponized media that included NBC, Fox News and NPR with the nightly sound bite, "What if the next terror attack is a mushroom cloud in New York City?" So I'm going to say it really was me baby, and this book was awesome.

r
rixonkj
May 11, 2018

This book is fantastic. Intense, well-plotted, with deft use of a handful of devices that I recognized as devices but that worked to keep me on the edge of my seat nevertheless.

I tend to be more optimistic than Alderman in my evaluation of human nature. I agree that power corrupts, but I think it would take a lot longer, and I think the ways in which society is shaped might be diverted in unexpected and interesting ways that Alderman does not, in the end pursue. This isn't really a critique of the book, though; I would have written a different one but so what? This one is good.

I really like the framing device, the future book manuscript complete with notes from an editor who does not recognize the bias in the manuscript feedback--I suspect Alderman may have copied almost verbatim from notes she as a woman writer has received from men in the publishing industry. This is actually a great microcosm of the book for me, actually: there is a kind of visceral satisfaction in seeing the gendered power structure eviscerated in this way, and yet I still wished there was some sign of what ELSE humans could do, abusive or not, other than wield power over each other.

t
The_Zookeeper
May 09, 2018

This was a great concept for a book, but at times it felt like the book was a little too loose. There could have been one less main character and the plot would have felt more closely knitted. The time frame also seemed a little too short. I can see some of this happening in third world countries, but the scale of what happened would have taken a much longer period of time.

e
elizali
Apr 03, 2018

Wow. This book was the most intense thing I have read in a long time. It was ghoulishly fun to see power dynamics shifted and a timely reminder that any power imbalance leads to disparity. This book is a page turner with a lot to unpack. Reads like an inverse of The Handmaid's Tale with many of the same themes and takeaways. Must read in 2018!

lindab1111 Mar 25, 2018

I usually don't read dystopian novels. I just don't like the genre. But this title began with a hopeful premise. If women had the power to free themselves literally and figuratively. I wanted this story to be more uplifting. Sadly, women with power were no better and had no vision other than revenge and hate. The world falls into chaos. And the spiritual voice that comes to Mother Eve has no message other than the world needs to be destroyed in order to make way for a "higher" way of being. And then the spiritual voice is done and disappears. What? This book could have been so much more.

multcolib_rachaels Mar 23, 2018

A compelling thriller about women gaining superpowers. But when I finished this book I felt a little disappointed, to me it didn't have much to say about gender. But then I realized: it has a lot of interesting things to say about power. Which she told us in the title.

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