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The Power Book Summary

A Novel

by Naomi Alderman

The Power

A Novel

Naomi Alderman


The Power imagines a world where women suddenly develop the ability to release electrical jolts from their fingers, leading to a dramatic shift in the power dynamics between genders. The story follows four main characters as they navigate this new reality, exploring themes of violence, dominance, and the corrupting nature of power itself. Alderman’s narrative unfolds in a format reminiscent of historical documents and personal accounts, offering a multifaceted view of this transformed society.

Table of contents

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Author & Writing Background

Naomi Alderman is a British novelist known for her speculative fiction and feminist themes. She has won several awards, including the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction for “The Power.” Alderman is also a Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Her writing style is known for its sharp wit, engaging characters, and thought-provoking exploration of social issues.

Key Takeaways

The Shift in Power Dynamics

The novel explores how the emergence of women’s electrical powers disrupts existing social structures and leads to a reversal of traditional gender roles. Women gain physical dominance and control over men, leading to significant societal changes.

The Nature of Power

Alderman delves into the corrupting nature of power, regardless of who wields it. The novel shows how both men and women can become violent and oppressive when they possess unchecked power.

Gender Roles and Identity

The Power challenges traditional notions of masculinity and femininity, exploring how these constructs are shaped by power dynamics and societal expectations.

Violence and Control

The novel examines the use of violence as a means of control and domination, both by men against women in the past and by women against men in the new world order.

Religion and Mythology

The emergence of women’s powers is intertwined with the creation of new religions and mythologies, reflecting the human need to explain and justify power structures.

Social and Political Upheaval

The Power depicts the social and political chaos that ensues as the balance of power shifts, with governments and institutions struggling to adapt to the new reality.

Personal Transformation

The story follows the personal journeys of the main characters as they grapple with the changes in themselves and the world around them, exploring themes of identity, morality, and responsibility.

Open Ending and Reflection

The novel concludes with an open ending, leaving readers to ponder the future of this transformed society and the potential consequences of the power shift.

FAQ about The Power

The Power Quotes

  • ”The power to hurt is a kind of wealth."
  • "Men who have felt the earth tremble just by walking know it. You can feel it, too. The power."
  • "The shape of power is always the same; it is the shape of a tree. Root, trunk, branch. The shape of power is the shape of an arm, reaching out, to hold, to take, to crush.”