Gerald's Reviews > The Power

The Power by Naomi Alderman
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Aug 10, 2017

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Read from August 04 to 10, 2017 , read count: 1

Note: This review contains significant spoilers and is strictly only for those that have read the book.

This is essentially a remake of Planet of the Apes, one that doesn't have much faith in humanity. What it isn't is any kind of feminist parable. It could have been, and that would have made it more interesting, but the author has chosen instead to imagine that, in a future where women gain a significant power over men, women sink to the same lows as men would/have.. Waging war, using their power to rape and pillage. This last is particularly nasty and particularly disappointing.

Were this book written by a man it would be widely chastised and largely ignored as a chauvinistic view of the world and a patronising view of how women might behave (just like men) had they gained this power. Surely what we want to see in a work of fiction with this premise is what women think the world could be. That would be a far now interesting work of fiction, given this entirely fantastical premise.


Admittedly the author hasn't claimed it, to my knowledge, as a feminist parable, but it has been marketed a bit in that way and won a literature prize for women writers. But a work of literature this isn't. As it stands, there isn't much between this and a book like The Girl with all the Gifts (even down to the denouement), which is not to put that down, but perhaps suggest that this has been misconstrued.

In terms of Dystopian futures, it doesn't come close to Margaret Atwood or David Mitchell, both of whom present futures that are so scary because they're so plausible.

A word for Roxy, the only really well written character, one who learns to adjust to life both with and then without her power, adapts her life to suit and the only character that really loves happily ever after. Many of the other subplots we could have done without and Roxy's story really could have, perhaps should have, been the subject of the novel. Seeing the world change through one character probably would have been much more interesting than attempting to say so much about humanity.

I didn't dislike it, there was an interesting premise, I was just disappointed by the direction it took. 2 stars, one extra for Roxy's story.
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08/03 marked as: currently-reading
08/10 marked as: read

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