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Want to promote ' The Power' as it's a fascinating feminist novel!

(47 Posts)
Destinysdaughter Sat 24-Dec-16 02:19:12

It's being promoted by MN at the moment but there's not been many takers so I'd like to mention it on here as its a fascinating take on what society would be like if women did have the power and I want to discuss it with all you brilliant feminists on here...!!😀

Destinysdaughter Sat 24-Dec-16 02:19:32

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/book_of_the_month/2805542-Book-of-the-month-January-2017-The-Power-by-Naomi-Alderman

JoeJoe80 Sat 24-Dec-16 07:19:59

Agreed it's great! It does raise the interesting question of whether women would abuse power as men do.

user1475253854 Sat 24-Dec-16 09:49:49

Ooh thanks OP I'll check it out.

M0stlyHet Sat 24-Dec-16 09:53:06

My copy is already under the Christmas tree at my request, waiting to be unwrapped tomorrow - yy to a discussion thread once I've had a chance to read it. (Bizarrely much as I usually dislike women's mags, it is thanks to a review in a women's mag in the dentists' waiting room that I stumbled across it...)

DeviTheGaelet Sat 24-Dec-16 09:53:51

Oh I'm up for that! M8ght take me a while to read though but sounds interesting

RufusTheSpartacusReindeer Sat 24-Dec-16 21:35:39

I have just received my copy smile

Destinysdaughter Sat 24-Dec-16 21:59:11

Here's some reviews

www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01EW5JKMM/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

DeviTheGaelet Mon 26-Dec-16 20:24:59

Started it. Loving it so far!

M0stlyHet Mon 26-Dec-16 21:39:14

Just finished it. Wow. Very thought provoking (and dark and disturbing - some of the violence is very upsetting, but somehow in the sense of being there to serve a narrative purpose rather than gratuitous). Lots of big questions tackled in there.

SOME SPOILERS IN WHAT FOLLOWS

My only slight reservation was the framing device of the letters between the putative author "Neil" and the established literary powerhouse "Naomi" which I thought were a bit crude and obvious compared to the complexity of the book itself. (I can see what she was doing - but perhaps it would have been better to leave the text to speak for itself). Though I suppose [SPOILER ALERT] she couldn't have worked in the comments about history and the suppression of dissenting voices by the people in charge of telling the story, sly digs about "men" authors not being taken seriously (try writing under a pseudonym), whether there was ever such a thing as a patriarchy with armed male soldiers or whether that was just an (erotically driven) myth, whether rape scenes could be justified by narrative even if one knew inevitably that some readers would get off on them, and so on. All interesting points - just not sure I needed her making them in such an explicit way rather than leaving them as open questions for the reader to come to themselves as they reflected on the text.

It's interesting to do a compare-and-contrast with the only other similar book I've read, The New Gulliver by Esme Dodderidge. Alderman's book (by far the better written) is driven by biological difference, Dodderidge's by social forces alone.

DeviTheGaelet Tue 27-Dec-16 16:13:44

I've finished too, agree with M0stly the last chapter was pretty unsubtle. The book was fabulous though. I liked having Tunde as a narrator as the way his views changed throughout the book were interesting.
Not sure if I agree things would change so radically if women got that much power over men but it's an interesting question.

Destinysdaughter Tue 27-Dec-16 17:47:05

Glad pp are reading it and finding it thought provoking. The first half for me had lots of ' fist pump' moments, when young girls finally had the power to strike back and could right many wrongs which they had simply been to physically weak to do anything about in the past. Many times I'd wished I could have punched a guy in the face when he'd done or said something sexist but never could. However it does get very darker later on. Understandable? Not sure.

Apparently it's going to be made into a TV series. That will be interesting....

DeviTheGaelet Tue 27-Dec-16 19:45:40

Oh great! I thought as I was reading it that it would make a great film. Is the world ready for it though?

Destinysdaughter Tue 27-Dec-16 19:50:25

Well it depends how much they water it down I think...

DeviTheGaelet Tue 27-Dec-16 19:52:05

If they water it down its hardly worth it sad

U2HasTheEdge Tue 27-Dec-16 20:42:35

I am reading it now. Loving it so far.

M0stlyHet Tue 27-Dec-16 21:05:48

I'm not surprised it got so dark (I didn't have any fist pump moments in the first half really, because I had this very strong sense of where it was headed). I don't think it's intended to be a story about how women would act; it's a story about how men do act. Like most good dystopian sci fi, it uses the future, or an alternate present to hold up a mirror to the actual present (1984 is 1948 backwards, or something like!). For me, the key phrase which pops up a few times in explanation of why women are acting as they are - "because they can" - is the reality. Maybe I've spent too long chatting to my anthropologist mate, but patriarchal power structures largely come down to "because they can" - men are physically stronger, women are vulnerable when they are pregnant/ have young children. So the novel draws attention to those roots of the imbalance in actual society by simply imaging what would happen to the power relations if you reversed the strength/vulnerability mismatch.

(Of course I suppose there's an argument in there as well about what role testosterone plays in male violence - whether men are intrinsically more violent, or whether it's simply that any violent tendencies women have - and I personally think we do have them - women keep a lid on because we don't have the strength to act on them).

schmack Tue 27-Dec-16 21:20:59

I thought this was a great read and really interesting. I was all about the fist pumps tbh. Initially, I found it a bit depressing how SPOILERS
the women became corrupted by power and started to exhibit many of the same unpleasant characteristics that men do with their superior strength. When I thought about it though, I thought actually, this is a very strong and positive feminist message because it's saying what most of MN has been saying on the I am Spartacus and many (many) trans threads. Namely that there is no such thing as a female brain/feeling female so that, put in the same situation, of course we behave largely like men. Because there's no inherent difference aside from the physical strength.

It just brings us back to balance of power and how to make it more equal.

DeviTheGaelet Tue 27-Dec-16 22:41:03

I did like the bit at the end about men being more docile because they were strong worker homestead-keepers, while women were violent and aggressive because they had babies to protect grin Probably has as much evidence as various other current eco psychological theories and I thought it was neat

M0stlyHet Tue 27-Dec-16 23:17:43

Yes, I liked the digs at evo-psych-babble. Basically, since it's all made-up "just so stories", you might as well make up the just so stories that suit your own political interests and power base.

user1482899995 Wed 28-Dec-16 04:57:27

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

M0stlyHet Wed 28-Dec-16 09:59:02

Just thought I'd bump this to get it back up the list of active threads because it genuinely is active, not one that's been bumped by the nocturnal troll.

Another thing I thought the book did very well was do a good sex-reversed version of the "good guys who like women, are horrified by how they're treated, but still benefit from the patriarchy and on some fundamental level don't get what it's really like to be on the receiving end."

Monkeyinshoes Wed 28-Dec-16 10:25:11

Thanks for posting. Bought it last night, after seeing this thread.

DeviTheGaelet Thu 29-Dec-16 10:43:31

M0stly and destiny, what do you think the book says about the authors feminism? I think it's an outline of the ultimate in radical feminism - the whole "we can't get there from here" suggesting the whole of society needs dismantling. But then the way the story pans out suggests the author doesn't think this is necessarily a good thing.

Destinysdaughter Thu 29-Dec-16 11:00:56

That's a v good question! It could be read as a cautionary tale in that maybe a world run by women would be no better! Or is that because the only reason the women have power is because they have the physical power to hurt or kill the men and so a society governed by violence will always be exploitative and unequal?

Is a society where there is true equality just too difficult to envisage?

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