So before I get to the nitty gritty of the book, I thought I’d start with how this all began… I recently joined twitter – not to tweet, I might add, I actually have the grand total of two followers, which is fine, that wasn’t the point (not initially anyway). I wanted to join so that I could follow the things I’m interested in, libraries, local events, GBBO, Doctor Who etc. But one post-work friday afternoon I was sat in the garden reading, and it occurred to me that I could use my Twitter account for the other thing I had got it for, customer service (in a positive sense in this case). So I dashed off this tweet with a pic of my copy of “The Power” and tagged (or whatever the Twitterati call it) Naomi Alderman the author. A couple of minutes later my phone buzzed and I opened it to find that Naomi Alderman herself had liked my tweet! So I may only have two followers, but I have ‘likes’ in high places. And so begins this blog. I hope to do the same every Monday, on Twitter, and follow it up with a little book review on this blog. So by this time next year I will have read 52 books. Simple right?(!)
Anyway, The Power. This book won the 2017 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. I think it is technically classed as sci-fi (or at least it was in Croydon Library) and I never really thought I was interested in sci-fi till I read this. The thing is the book is about more than just the other worldly sci-fi stuff. The fact that women around the world develop the ability to electrocute people with their bare hands is almost beside the point. When I started reading the book, I thought the title ‘The Power’ was just a reference to the electricity that runs through the women, but it is more than that. The book deals with where power in society lies, how that becomes threatened, how it shifts in a situation like this. What happens when the physically weaker sex become the stronger one? The premise may be fictional but the stage it plays out on is very much real.
Alderman constructs a world where everything is totally different to our own, and yet eerily similar. The Power is, at times challenging and at times uncomfortable reading, but through to the last page, a veritable monster of a tale that keeps you gripped. An absolutely deserved prize winner.
Next week, I’ll be reading Reality is Not What it Seems by Carlo Rovelli. It’s not a novel. I bought this before I decided to start a blog and now I have just realised that I am going to have to read a book about physics in one week. GCSE science was an awfully long time ago… Wish me luck – I’m definitely going to need it!