Lunch break to-do list: Order The Power
Whether you're the kind of person who reads at every available minute (e.g. on your commute and before bed) or manages it only on holidays, The Power is sure to have infiltrated your literary radar.
Described as ‘The Handmaid’s Tale for the Gone Girl generation’ (by us), Naomi Alderman’s fourth novel is a feminist science-fiction novel.
After being met with rave reviews when it was published last year, it has just won the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.
The premise of the book is men are afraid of women. It’s set in a dystopian new stage of human evolution in which women have developed a new organ, called the 'skein', that allows them to produce a potentially fatal electric shocks with a single touch.
While highlighting the inequality in today’s society, it questions whether women would abuse power any differently, exploring the effects of this reversed gender dynamic through the transformed lives of four main characters.
Called ‘a classic of the future’ by producer Tessa Ross, who was on the judging panel, it covers some of today’s most relevant topics, including gender, feminism, politics and religion.
Not only is it the first science fiction novel to win the prestigious award, but it beat off tough competition including Linda Grant, who won the award for The Dark Circle back in 2000, and Madeleine Thien, whose work Do Not Say We Have Nothing has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
On accepting the £30,000 prize at the Royal Festival Hall, Alderman said: ‘I'm a bit shaky […] I wanted to say that the women's movement has made my life possible. Women's writing has changed my life. Writers in the feminist tradition have shown me wider ambition and purpose and possibility for my life, and what I wanted to do with this book was to be part of that amazing conversation about what women can do and achieve and be. And I think we are only just beginning.’
Her win comes ten years after her debut novel Disobedience won the 2006 Orange Award for New Writers.