Greetings, readers! My name is Sareeta Domingo, and I’m an author and fiction editor. It’s my great pleasure to be bringing you a Book of the Week, each week here on Morning Mari.
This week, my selection is a book with a premise so enticing that every time I think about it, the author part of my brain is jealous I didn’t come up with something like it myself! So this week, my Book of the Week is Naomi Alderman’s brilliant, Women’s Prize-winning speculative fiction novel The Power.
The premise of the book is dazzling yet simple—women across the world develop the ability to generate electricity from their hands, allowing them to protect themselves and also to possibly harm, torture and kill men. The onset of this ability upends the patriarchal status quo of the world as we currently know it, as this power turns the tables on the dominance of men globally.
The book actually takes the form of a manuscript, apparently written 5000 years ahead of our present day by male author Neil Adam Armon to another author, slyly named Naomi. His book details the outset of the power. We meet a host of characters, including Nigerian journalist Tunde, one of the first to capture the use of the power on camera; Allie, a young woman who uses her abilities to kill her abusive foster father and later becomes the leader of a cult; and Roxy, the daughter of a mob boss who turns to Allie—later known as Mother Eve—for help controlling her powers, and they soon become close friends.
The scope of the novel is deceptively vast conceptually, but is cleverly and skilfully handled by Alderman, who uses humour and irony to great effect—at the book’s conclusion, the fictional version of Naomi even advises her male colleague to publish his book under a female pseudonym.
In exploring the potential of a shrewdly feminist ‘what-if’ scenario, Alderman never veers into territory that feels obvious or contrived. It’s a powerful concept and a powerful book that is certain to stay with you long after you close its covers. That is why The Power by Naomi Alderman is my Book of the Week this week.