book review: The Power, Naomi Alderman; long post Afficher plus
so uh yesterday I finished reading The Power as @Eutrapelie recommended it a few days ago, and.... wow.
It's a very good book! The writing style isn't my favorite but it's very accessible, and it has pretty good characters and a *very* interesting story. Be warned though that there's depictions of sexual assault and violence, a bunch of "regular" violence, sexism, and probably other stuff I didn't think about
quick summary of the plot: suddenly, women start being able to generate and direct electricity out of their bodies. We follow a few characters around the world as the social status quo changes quite quickly.
[ spoilers ]
now... I don't know what to think about what the book seems to express. It's really weird to see the way it talks about feminism from different points of views, how at first it places "reason" in the hands of the white american politician, but it quickly escapes, seemingly to end up with the leader of the New Church, which seems to start as a really positive organization and ends up, uh, destroying the world I guess? I feel like it's trying to go to the conclusion that gender is ultimately irrelevant and that power struggles that have been installed for centuries are what really shape the social landscape, which is /true/ but seems a little weird as a conclusion given the *current* social landscape, and a little defeatist: what are we supposed to do, just give up because "well, historically power distribution has always been like this so I guess better to accept it"? That doesn't feel right for a book that touts itself as feminist, and the way the only character that's never seen to have any negative actions is a man is pretty weird too. Once again, it looks like the book is trying to tell us "power corrupts all, there's no escaping that" and in that case is trying to get power for women actually a bad thing? is that what the book is trying to say, that if women get power they will be corrupted just as much as men are currently and so... what, even? what's the conclusion to this? Are we supposed to see the end of the world as negative or not? Are the examples of male sexual mutilation presented to make us see how "actually they're all the same, it doesn't matter who's in control"?
That's a weird conclusion, and it made me feel pretty uneasy. I don't know what to think of this book, honestly. But I enjoyed reading it, and I would definitely tell people to read it, if only to have a conversation about it at some point.