The Power by Naomi Alderman
Meeting at Mary and Keith’s on Tuesday 29th January at 7:30 for 7:45
Winner of the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction 2017
“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.
It starts with a tingling in the fingers, a feeling of focus, of a change in the rhythm of the world, a pricking of the thumbs.
Power is everywhere, it is under our feet, it circles around the cities and towns we have made our homes. We gather it and order it and make it flow from the centre outwards in a network like veins, pulsing with an electric heartbeat that keeps things functioning just as they always have. Yet power transfers and the time is coming for it to change hands.
What if the power to hurt were in women’s hands?
Imagine a world where teenage girls awake one morning with extraordinary physical strength and power that outstrips their male counterparts. Thanks to a newly acquired section of muscle near their collarbone, young women can now conduct electricity like electric eels: inflicting pain or electrocuting to death as they wish. They can even waken this power in older women too. In Naomi Alderman’s The Power, the balance of the world is irrevocably altered overnight.
The novel weaves four central points of view; that of Margot, the ruthlessly ambitious member of American government; Roxy, the somewhat gullible daughter of a London gangster; Tunde, a young Nigerian man who documents the worldwide change known as Day of the Girls; and Allie, a teenage runaway who becomes revered as a deity; through their experiences, we witness the ways in which women utilise their newfound dominance.
This brave new world is far from a utopia however. As uprisings and revolts spread through the world and after the initial delight in female empowerment subsides, a darker side to the new world order emerges.
Exploring the concepts of gender, hierarchy and power, The Power is an ingenious and masterfully crafted piece of feminist science fiction as well as a searing indictment of our contemporary world.”
The book after that: Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
Winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2018
Shortlisted for the 2017 Costa Book Awards Novel Award
Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2017
“From the Women’s Prize-shortlisted and Man Booker-longlisted author comes an urgent, explosive story of love and a family torn apart.
Isma is free.
After years spent raising her twin siblings in the wake of their mother’s death, she is finally studying in America, resuming a dream long deferred. But she can’t stop worrying about Aneeka, her beautiful, headstrong sister back in London – or their brother, Parvaiz, who’s disappeared in pursuit of his own dream: to prove himself to the dark legacy of the jihadist father he never knew.
Then Eamonn enters the sisters’ lives. Handsome and privileged, he inhabits a London worlds away from theirs.
As the son of a powerful British Muslim politician, Eamonn has his own birthright to live up to – or defy. Is he to be a chance at love? The means of Parvaiz’s salvation?
Two families’ fates are inextricably, devastatingly entwined in this searing novel that asks: what sacrifices will we make in the name of love? A contemporary reimagining of Sophocles’ Antigone, Home Fire is an urgent, fiercely compelling story of loyalties torn apart when love and politics collide – confirming Kamila Shamsie as a master storyteller of our times.”