5 reviews

The Power
by Naomi Alderman

Published: 2017-10-10
Hardcover : 400 pages
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Recommended to book clubs by 5 of 5 members
What would happen if women suddenly possessed a fierce new power?
"The Power is our era's The Handmaid's Tale." --Ron Charles, Washington Post
One of the New York Times's Ten Best Books of the YearOne of President Obama's favorite reads of ...
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What would happen if women suddenly possessed a fierce new power?

"The Power is our era's The Handmaid's Tale." --Ron Charles, Washington Post

One of the New York Times's Ten Best Books of the Year
One of President Obama's favorite reads of the Year
A Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year
One of the Washington Post's Ten Best Books of the Year
An NPR Best Book of the Year
One of Entertainment Weekly's Ten Best Books of the Year
A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year
A Bustle Best Book of the Year
A Paste Magazine Best Novel of the Year
A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
An Amazon Best Book of the Year

"Alderman's 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

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.

Editorial Review

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Discussion Questions

1. The premise of The Power seems to be that if a new world order were created—with women in charge—it would look little different from the way it does now. That woman would use their power to oppress men. Do you agree with that premise? Does Naomi Alderman make her case convincingly? Do you see other possibilities?

2. Follow-up to Question 1: The book poses a question: why do people abuse power? What does the book suggest the answer is? What is your answer?

3. As an interesting exercise, go through the novel to identify those societal structures, both legitimate and criminal, that have been changed by feminine power. Look at how the book treats religion, the military, sex trafficking and porn, harassment, even bullying. What does the new power inversion say about the way gender and sexuality operates in "normal" society (i.e., today in the early 21st century)?

4. In what ways does each of the four characters—Eve, Roxy, Tunde, and Margot—illuminate the events of the novel and all that has changed? Whose perspective or story do you find most interesting … or revealing … or engaging?

5. What do you make of Neil Adam Armon and his gushing letter to Naomi Alderman, "I am so grateful you could spare the time," and "Sorry, I'll shut up now"? If you are a woman, does that tone, do those words, have a familiar ring? Also, what's the joke here about appropriation, given that Alderman's name, not Neil's, ends up on the novel? (If you haven't already, play around with the letters of Neil's name.)

6. Vogue reviewer, Bridget Read (really), calls parts of the book "revenge porn." Do you agree with her label? Do you find the revenge satisfying or twisted … or both?

7. Neil ponders: "Gender is a shell game. What is a man? Whatever a woman isn't. What is a woman? Whatever a man is not. Tap on it and it's hollow. Look under the shells: It's not there." What does Neil mean, and do you agree or disagree? How do you see gender? Is it "real" or a social construct?

8. The novel: bleak or hopeful?

With thanks to Litlovers

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