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Book of the month January 2017 - The Power by Naomi Alderman

(116 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 16-Dec-16 16:01:24

We're delighted to announce our first book of the month for 2017 will be Naomi Alderman's thrilling new novel, The Power. Find out more about the book. Join us in reading The Power over Christmas, post up your feedback on this thread and join the discussion with other readers and author Naomi, on here between 9 and 10pm on Monday 23 January.

If you fancy joining MN bookclub next year, discover all the books we'll be reading in the first 6 months of 2017 - both fiction and non-fiction. Each month we'll be offering up a chance to access free copies of all these books, and join the authors and other readers for webchats from the comfort of your own home (no babysitter required). Do make sure you're signed up to the books newsletter to ensure you have the up-to-date info on all book giveaways and author webchats.

Destinysdaughter Fri 16-Dec-16 16:15:00

Ooh brilliant. I just got this on my kindle yesterday and I can't wait to read it! Will be great to have other pp to discuss it with. 😀

schmack Fri 16-Dec-16 17:09:12

I've just finished this, looking forward to the discussion!

pbandbacon Fri 23-Dec-16 21:05:38

Copy arrived today, just in time for post Christmas binge reading. Can't wait to get stuck in - thank you!

schmack Fri 23-Dec-16 22:52:37

Christmas shopping today I kept thinking "god, I wish I had The Power!"

Destinysdaughter Sat 24-Dec-16 02:14:48

Ive read this now. Incredible book. Keep thinking about it. Wish we did have ' the power ' !!

RingInTheNew Wed 28-Dec-16 19:49:08

Received my copy last week - thank you! - and am looking forward to getting stuck in over the next couple of days.

FoxInABox Sat 31-Dec-16 11:32:57

Can't wait to start this smile

RufusTheSpartacusReindeer Sat 31-Dec-16 19:29:53

Just finished it so will place mark so i dont forget to come back smile

Memory like a sieve

Destinysdaughter Sat 31-Dec-16 20:00:13

We've got a thread in feminist chat already discussing this if you'd like to join!

hanbee Sun 01-Jan-17 16:02:32

Ooo I was bought this for Christmas. Will get started on it!

ElizaBenson Sun 01-Jan-17 21:02:27

I've just read this today, it left me feeling quite uncomfortable and disturbed, not that I disliked it, its just a good book for really making you think

Destinysdaughter Sun 01-Jan-17 21:24:14

Yes it is very unsettling and thought provoking on lots of levels!

DeviTheGaelet Mon 02-Jan-17 14:55:19

Following for the Web chat! Great book

mummyplus7 Tue 03-Jan-17 07:41:11

Just ordering it now!

Hygellig Tue 03-Jan-17 10:58:05

Just started and enjoying it so far. Good to read something that I might not have heard about otherwise.

ghostwatch Fri 06-Jan-17 00:13:22

I'm going to read this but I've listened to a version of this book on radio 4 last month did anyone else ?

Reastie Sat 07-Jan-17 14:36:32

Thanks mumsnet for my copy, I've just finished it this afternoon.

When I first read the blurb about the book it made me think Of Elsa from frozen with her powers from her hands, but there the similarity ends (although did make for an interesting discussion when dd (5) asked what my book was about and what the picture in the front was showing). I Found the book really intriguing and thought provoking. It was very difficult (and shocking) reading in places but also was humorous in other places (loved the humour on the exerts from an online forum discussing the power). I liked how it was told from the perception of different people so it always moved quickly and although they started in different parts of the world they ended out interwinding their stories together. At one point in the novel I felt it was becoming too much religion focused but as soon as I began feeling this it seemed to be toned back down.

I've read an interview with the author where she says she was ready to give up on the book and the final version is quite different to the original text. I would love to ask her has she ever given up on a book previously and is she ever tempted to go back to it and reinvent it and finish it to be published.

I often wonder how many ideas novelists come up with; whether they are constantly thinking of new novel ideas, many of which may never get much further than rough notes, or whether they have rare glints of inspiration which they keep tight and use as a basis of a book (sadly I get neither!).

Hygellig Sat 07-Jan-17 21:48:31

I've just finished this. Again, I don't know if I would have thought to read it (dystopian/fantasy fiction not really being my thing, although I have read some in the past) but it's good to try something new. Spoilers below if you haven't read it yet.

I now feel like I need to read something by Anne Tyler, or at any rate something that's firmly rooted in mundane everyday life. I'm not so keen on graphic descriptions of violence in fiction; I feel I get enough harrowing stuff in non-fiction. I thought it was well-written and that the basic idea was interesting in terms of what it would mean for society and the changing roles and status of men and women. It was quite disappointing that it ended up in female abuse of men and a major war.

I also liked the inclusion of the drawings of the artefacts from our time being referred to as we would refer to archaeological finds, and the term "Bitten Fruit" motif being used to refer to the Apple logo. And "Neil Adam Armon" being an anagram of "Naomi Alderman". Also how Naomi in the future can't believe that things like FGM could ever have happened - maybe after the Cataclysm Era a more peaceful society developed, if not an equal one?

A further question to Naomi: were you tempted to get involved in the trans debate - for example, would transwomen have skeins or would they have to have them implanted? (Although any man might want to do a Darrell and get their own skein).

doublex Mon 09-Jan-17 19:51:32

place marking;

Destinysdaughter Mon 09-Jan-17 20:24:37

Can't believe not more pp have signed up for this, it's such a great book!

M0stlyHet Mon 09-Jan-17 20:43:30

I read this and loved it. I will try to think up some interesting questions when I'm not tending to a snuffily child... But definitely one of the most gripping and thought provoking books I've read in quite a while.

M0stlyHet Tue 10-Jan-17 17:12:38

Okay, I have a question (and possibly a follow-up).

The thing that really impressed me was that you'd managed to write an overtly political novel without being preachy. I think we all know works where the author's politics have proved to be the kiss of death to the narrative. So I thought I'd ask how you, as an author, managed to pull this off - how did you keep the authorial voice out of the picture while still making it work as political satire?

As a subsidiary question - I was very conflicted about the trick of using the framing device of having an imaginary mere male author write a work of historical fiction, and having the female publisher womansplain what he was doing to him (while not being able to resist a few bits of cheeky banter about how sexy she'd found parts of it). On one level I loved it because it so neatly skewered and inverted so many such earnest discussions I've seen in the real world. But on another level, it was the one bit I felt did step over the line from letting the reader work out the political message for herself into spelling it out for her.

(As a slight aside, have you ever read Esme Dodderidge's "The New Gulliver", published by the Women's Press back in the 80s? I find it an interesting companion piece to yours. Whereas yours is rooted in the idea of what would happen if we inverted the physical power balance between men and women, hers places the male protagonist in a world where it is social conditioning and expectation which do the work.)

DeviTheGaelet Tue 10-Jan-17 20:43:59

Amazing book Naomi, I loved it! I would like to know if you are a feminist and if you are which feminist issues are closest to your heart?

MrsRedWhite214 Sun 15-Jan-17 09:28:06

I loved this book! It really gets you thinking about the world we're in now, and how we might act if the power was balanced in a different way. Whether things would go that far, I'm not sure, but it is certainly a stark warning about how things could turn out. I wouldn't change anything about the ending. If had been less dystopian the message wouldn't have come across so perfectly. Nobody is above criticism. We may all think we would do things better, but in that situation perhaps not.

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