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.
I lay awake for hours processing it. Images and scenarios from it jumped in and out of mind. Even today, I think of "just one more thing" about it which I found remarkable. or which I want to discuss with someone.
I'd almost start a book club just so everyone could read this book and talk about it - because this is a book that begs to be talked about.
The premise is relatively simple, I suppose - as women evolve to develop a power which gives them the ability to take control of men, of armies, of governments - how will the world change?
The book is told through the eyes of four people caught in the middle of the storm that comes after 'The Day of the Girls' - the day in which this power is first activated in teenage girls. Each of these four sees The Power differently - to Allie, it is the start of a new religion - or the rewriting of our patriarchal notions of religion.
Roxy finds it at first a way to get revenge for a great injustice against her.
Margot as a way to gain power on a wider scale.
And Tunde - a young male journalist - as a way to earn him fame and recognition as a reporter of note unafraid (at least initially) to put himself at the heart of the action as women of the world rise up against their oppressors and form a more equal society.
Of course, the adage that power corrupts is there at all times bubbling away at the back of this book. But is it corruption or the desire to right old wrongs, to assert where real strength lies and to ensure the continuation of a new matriarchal religion?
This is a phenomenal book and I'm reluctant to give too much away. At times it is exceptionally graphic and upsetting - crimes committed against both men and women make for uncomfortable reading.
But for every unsettling passage there is so much to discuss. The way in which power shifts in the book is subtly done - expertly done. It is a book that jabs at all that is wrong with modern society and questions whether things would be any better if the tide was turned.
This book gripped me, utterly. It is a read that will stay with me for a long time and it's one I recommend wholeheartedly.
The Power is published by Penguin
I purchased my own copy of this book for review.