Naomi Alderman’s newest dystopian novel, “The Power,” has paved a new path for feminist literature and excited political theorists since its public release.
Published in October of 2016, “The Power” explores the concept of a world in which women develop the ability to produce electricity through their palms due to a chemical released in water systems during World War II. This power initially appears in children and teenagers, but it slowly spreads throughout the entire female population in the world. For the first time in history, the dynamic between men and women shifts: the patriarchy is destroyed and women are viewed as the dominant sex.
Needless to say, the subject matter of “The Power” is intense. While some women use their new-found abilities in positive ways, others, of course, choose a different path. The novel tackles various concepts, such as trafficking, domestic abuse, sexual assault and substance abuse. Women become the abusers, the traffickers and the punishers, but they also become the leaders, the guides and the visionaries for a new world. They carry with them the opportunity to prove that the previously suppressed gender can change the world for the better. Alderman certainly does not hold back.
Alderman makes “The Power” extremely unique in both its subject matter and its form. It is written in the form of a historical fiction manuscript, as if the emergence of the power in women was an actual event that happened years before. Pictures and news clippings are scattered throughout the manuscript, giving the reader a sense of authenticity with the plot. While some parts of the novel, particularly those of torture, had me cringing with disgust, others were liberating. Women and children who had been prisoners and slaves in the Middle East are finally able to defend themselves. However, Alderman emphasizes that such an advantage will always be abused. In communist countries, men quickly lose their right to travel unattended by a woman. Vacationers and visitors are trapped within the borders, forced to obey tyrannical laws. “The Power” is a feminist novel not because it focuses on the emergence of female strength, but because it focuses on the fact that inequality between men and women will always result in destruction. I found this book enthralling and fascinating; in fact, I could hardly put it down! If you’re looking for a thrilling and enticing novel featuring female empowerment, I highly recommend reading “The Power” – you won’t regret it!