I've found my favorite book of 2017.
Maybe it's too soon to write that (but it is November....), but Naomi Alderman's The Power was a stunning book. Called "our era's Handmaid's Tale" by the Washington Post, Alderman's dystopian novel is a world where teenage girls suddenly acquire the ability to produce a deadly electrical charge (think electric eels). Women gain power - and the patriarchal world is upended in surprising ways. The narrative is told through the perspectives of four protagonists: (1) Roxy, the daughter of a London gangster, (2) Margot, the politically ambitious mayor of a small New England town, (3) Allie, a foster child who thinks she is a prophet for the Goddess, and (4) Tunde, a young Nigerian man who begins to travel the world to report on the female revolutions.
Alderman writes that her inspiration for the novel came from: "what would happen if women had the power to cause pain and destruction? Do we really believe that women are naturally peaceful and nurturing? How much of gender is in our expectations of violence? But it's also a thriller; in pursuit of power each of the main characters will eventually come into conflict with the others, and they're each a force to be reckoned with."
Once I got to the last page, I was BLOWN AWAY by how the story ends. It makes you re-think our entire world. NPR writes, "The Power is a dizzy, unsettling book that doesn't let readers turn away from the horrors at its core." Sometimes these horrors are hard to read; but I knew they were being written by a woman, therefore I trusted her more.
Alderman won the 2017 Bailey Women's Prize for Fiction; the 2017 Chair of Judges said: “The judges and I were thrilled to make this decision. We debated this wonderful shortlist for many hours but kept returning to Naomi Alderman’s brilliantly imagined dystopia – her big ideas and her fantastic imagination." Emma Watson (famous for playing Hermione Granger, the best bookworm in literature) recently chose The Power for her book club and wrote that "This made me think about the fact that history was written by those who held the power. It also made me think about how the distribution of power and gender roles throughout history often seems arbitrary, and how they could have perhaps ended up very differently."
This should be your book club pick next. (Electric) hands down.