Winner of the 2017 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction
Longlisted for the 2017 Orwell Prize
What if the power to hurt were in women's hands? Suddenly - tomorrow or the day after - teenage girls find that with a flick of their fingers, they can inflict agonizing pain and even death. With this single twist, the four lives at the heart of Naomi Alderman's extraordinary, visceral novel are utterly transformed.
"Bold, accessible and beautifully written." - Tessa Ross, Baileys Prize Prize Chair 'She throws her head back and pushes her chest forward and lets go a huge blast right into the centre of his body. The rivulets and streams of red scarring run across his chest and up around his throat. She'd put her hand on his heart and stopped him dead.'
From the Author
My new novel, The Power, is a piece of feminist science fiction - or speculative fiction, or fiction about a fictional thing rather than a real thing (curious concept). In the novel, very suddenly almost all the women in the world develop the power to electrocute people at will. Anything from a tiny tingle all the way to full electro-death. And then everything is different.
The novel follows four main characters as they pick their way across this changed world. There's Roxy, the daughter of a London crime family with three older brothers; she was never supposed to take over the family business but she starts to have other ideas. There's Tunde, a young journalism student in Lagos, who sees that the revolution needs documenting, and gets himself into some dicey situations trying to be the one to do it. There's Allie, who comes from a troubled background in the South of the USA and sees that what people need is something new to believe in. And there's Margot, who was a low-level politician in New England but begins to have new ambitions.
It's a novel of ideas - 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.
At the novel's heart is the question of power: who has it, how do you get it, what does it do to you when you've got it? And when you wield the power, how long will it be before the power wields you?
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 27th April 2017
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
About the Author
Naomi Alderman is the author of four novels. In 2006 she won the Orange Award for New Writers and in 2007 she was named Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year, as well as being selected as one of Waterstones' 25 Writers for the Future. All of her novels have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Book at Bedtime. In 2013 she was selected for the prestigious Granta Best of Young British Writers. She lives in London.