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The Power Hardcover – 27 Oct 2016
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The Hunger Games crossed with The Handmaid's Tale (Cosmopolitan)
Electrifying! Shocking! Will knock your socks off! Then you'll think twice, about everything (Margaret Atwood)
The Handmaid's Tale for the Gone Girl generation (Grazia)
A stone cold genius (Sarah Perry)
The Power is a subtly funny, lyrical and utterly subversive vision of an impossible future. As all the best visionaries do, Alderman shines a penetrating and yet merciful light on to our present and the so many cruelties in which we may be complicit (A. L. Kennedy)
The Power is a fascinating look at what the world might be like if millennia of sexism went the other way...as a whole the narrative feels ingenious...deserves to be read by every woman (and, for that matter, every man) (The Times)
A feminist science-fiction story that's about to make waves (Red)
If you enjoy Margaret Atwood's dystopian fiction, this strong, substantial novel is for you (Woman & Home)
Alderman is a fluent and powerful writer (Sunday Times)
Thought-provoking novel (Glamour)
When we say that The Power is profoundly disturbing and you may well want to argue with it as you read, we mean that in a good way (SFX, Five Stars)
As awesome as it is compulsive (Heat, 5 stars)
What starts out as a fantasy of female empowerment deepens and darkens into an interrogation of power itself, its uses and abuses and what it does to the people who have it (Guardian)
A raw, gutsy slice of speculative dystopia (Metro)
Like the best science fiction, this dystopian feminist fantasy holds up a mirror to the here and now (Mail on Sunday)
A gripping read and a reminder of the true joy of a truly engaging story (Stylist)
Frenetic sci-fi novel (Daily Mail)
Naomi's super-charged, subversive novel....forcing you to rethink everything (Psychologies)
Gripping and disturbing, it pushes the reader - even the confidently feminist reader - to question the assumptions underlying many of the mechanisms that drive relationships between women and men (Harper's Bazaar)
An instant classic of speculative fiction... a big, brash, page-turning, drug-running, globe-trotting thriller... endlessly nuanced and thought-provoking, combining elegantly efficient prose with beautiful meditations on the metaphysics of power, possibility and change (Guardian)
Sci-fi with a feminist twist (Jewish Chronicle)
it is so whipsmart, it is so brilliant, I absolutely loved it, it's going to stay right in the science fiction canon forever...you know it will end up on TV (Rowan Pelling)
Very smart, very crisply written (Christopher Frayling)
Insightful, thrilling, funny and well-written.. Alderman's book is in the tradition of Ursula le Guin, Margaret Atwood, Sheri Tepper and Joanna Russ (Daily Telegraph)
A thrilling narrative stuffed with provocative scenarios and thought experiments. The Power is a blast. (Financial Times)
A brash sci-fi fantasy, clever and coarse, calculated and hectic (Observer)
'The Hunger Games crossed with The Handmaid's Tale.' (Cosmopolitan)
'The Power is a fascinating look at what the world might be like if millennia of sexism went the other way...as a whole the narrative feels ingenious...deserves to be read by every woman (and, for that matter, every man).' (The Times)
'A brash sci-fi fantasy, clever and coarse, calculated and hectic.' (The Observer) --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Top customer reviews
A few weeks ago, I read an article by Naomi Alderman in which she talked about this book and said, "Nothing happens to a man in the book that hasn't happened to a woman." It piqued my interest. It also set my expectations. I was expecting a book that used a sci-fi setting to challenge my assumptions about gender and what it means to be a man or woman.
I wasn't let down. Alderman carefully traces the shift in culture as women take on the power that men usually assume is theirs (in some cases without even realizing that they've done so). And it's a fascinating portrayal of what happens.
But the book is more than that. As the title promises, The Power is an exploration of power. Alderman looks how power is assumed or acquired, how it is used or misused and of course, how it corrupts. But this book also examines how power affects human connection, how seeking power seems to have an inverse relation ship to being able to maintain a relationship based on trust rather than on bargaining.
If I have any criticism of the book it is that the frame narrative occasionally jarred me out of my suspension of disbelief. At one point the author-within-the-book—who is writing 5,000 years in the future—casually mentions BuzzFeed, but then is mystified by Apple products.
But that is a small quibble for what is a truly extraordinary book. It's not always easy reading, but it's not meant to be. The exercise of power can often be ugly, and that is fully on display here.
It could have been just another tritely entertaining SF yarn. But Naomi Alderman's extraordinary writing and electric insight turn this facile idea into a profound analysis of the darkness of the human spirit, of the randomness of gender and its attributions.
The story drives us brilliantly and mercilessly into the heart of darkness, of the unspeakable violence on which every civilization has been built. Yet despite the disturbing profundity of what Aldermen does, the story is compelling and human, with richly drawn characters and sparking plot lines.
I kept hoping that the ever more infernal story would lead to redemption, to a hopeful resolution. The conclusion is so much more truthful and grown up than that. We are forced to look the reality of our human history - and present - full face in the mirror.
The Power could so easily have slipped into a simplistic feminist allegory about men's abuse of their physical superiority to crush women over the millennia. The book does forcefully remind us of that uncomfortable truth but then goes much further, to examine the dreadful flaw in our psyche, that women and men are equally capable of, even drawn to, power, violence and domination.
This is truly an essential work but I'm not sure I'm up to reading it a second time, wonderful as it is.
There are parts that are very difficult to read, and anyone who struggles with this should remember that nothing happens in this book that hasn't happened to a woman. I hope that people are able to appreciate the shift in perspective that this offers.
One of the most fascinating moments for me, was where one character had the power, but nobody knew she did and she was unable to use it without risking her career. Despite being unable to use it, it still changed the way she held herself and spoke to others. Suddenly, she doesn't let men speak over her, and becomes far more direct and confident. For those of us living in the real world without any deadly power to earn us respect, this is an important moment to consider the way we present ourselves... or perhaps to consider Krav Maga classes.
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Most recent customer reviews
It left a bad taste in my mouth but I think that is what is intended.Read more