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The Power  By  cover art

The Power

By: Naomi Alderman
Narrated by: Adjoa Andoh,Naomi Alderman,Thomas Judd,Emma Fenney,Phil Nightingale
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Publisher's Summary

2017 Winner of the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction

'She throws her head back and pushes her chest forward and lets go a huge blast right into the centre of his body. The rivulets and streams of red scarring run across his chest and up around his throat. She'd put her hand on his heart and stopped him dead.'

Suddenly - tomorrow or the day after - 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, and we look at the world in an entirely new light. What if the power to hurt were in women's hands?

©2016 Naomi Alderman (P)2016 Audible, Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Electrifying! Shocking! Will knock your socks off! Then you'll think twice, about everything." (Margaret Atwood)
" The Power is a subtly funny, lyrical and utterly subversive vision of an impossible future. As all the best visionaries do, Alderman shines a penetrating and yet merciful light on to our present and the so many cruelties in which we may be complicit." (A. L. Kennedy)
"Alderman is a fluent and powerful writer." ( Sunday Times)

What listeners say about The Power

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Entertaining story, nice structure, perfect performance

Story flows easily and in an addictive way despite a series of characters (and perspectives) that never meet. Performance is perfect. The different characters come to life, adding richness to the story

1 person found this helpful

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Ok but not for me

This book had a really good concept but it dragged on for too long. There was a lot of symbolism and aspects of this book to be unpicked and unpacked. But I found it quite boring at times.

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Just the very problem with power

Nigerian here. Naomi's Tunde is so spot on, a Yoruba demon they are called nowadays: good natured, handsome, brilliant, ambitious... Casanova. Spoiler, thanks for not killing him.

The book is an interesting take on the early stages of a suddenly matriarch world. The Power had caused a shift in the balance of power and it has corrupted more than a few.

Overall it's a remarkable listen with some great character development. It's easy to become obsessed with a Roxy and to explore the similarities between the motivations of some politicians and religious leaders.

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A thought-provoking read

The Power weaves a compelling narrative from the perspectives of a few characters whose stories we follow. In the process, it raises insightful questions about gender and society.

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What did I just listen too?

Absolute power corrupts absolutely. I can’t decide if this is a feminist masterpiece or a complete train wreck in the way it depicts women’s rise to power in a new world. What would we do if we held that kind of power over men? I’d like to think the world would be more rational but I doubt that would be the case.

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WOW

This story was amazing and the performance completely gripping. Thoroughly enjoyed it, didn't notice the time at all!

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Mind Blown!

This book really blew my mind and left me feeling emotionally charged at the end. Not just the story but the letters exchanged between Neil and Naomi - really had an impact. The fact that this book was actually written by a man makes it even more interesting! There were parts of this book that were down right gruesome and soo hard to digest - let alone imagine! I wanted to look away but couldn't "move on" with the story without reading every word! This really makes you re-think the way the world works today.. the cruelties, the injustice, the compassion, the peace - we all, male or female, have the power to change things that happen in this world today. Question is do we really want things to change and if so, what do we want the future to look like?

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  • Caroline
  • 12-23-16

Really cold, unengaging and hard to read

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

No one, although the many reviewers seem to like it based on its concept alone. I prefer a book I can emotionally engage in, rather than a 10+ hour overview of a situation.

What was most disappointing about Naomi Alderman’s story?

Everything is described as if from a distance, like a traffic report. There is zero chance to emotionally engage or empathise with the characters. The whole book is based on one feminist premise, which is actually a good idea, but the writing is very poor, well, maybe not the writing so much as the perspective. It's like the stories kids write at school: 'and then this happened, then this happened, then this happened.'

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

The narrators were ok and did what they could with the material. They had a slight edgy anxiety to their reading which I suppose was meant to match the pace of the story, but it just made me annoyed because the story was so boring.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Power?

I'd give the manuscript back to the writer and tell them to change it to first person and put emotions and thoughts of the characters in it, rather than just a great long description of a situation.

Any additional comments?

Pretentious, badly drawn up. Good premise. The reviews in the press and on here make me wonder how many journalists Naomi Alderman knows personally.

60 people found this helpful

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  • jo
  • 12-18-16

Reeling from the power of this book.

I may become a bit evangelical in my wish to share this book... It is astonishingly good. This book makes me feel invincible. (Hope I remember soon that I don't, in fact, have The Power so I'm not!)
Can't say too much in case of spoilers, but it's so clever and thought-provoking and engaging, it's hard to 'put down'. It is blunt in places - the reversal of women using rape as an instrument of war, for example - but some bits so subtle it's almost painful to realise how immune we are to incipient sexism until we hear it reversed in this way. The conversation between the two authors at the opening and closing of the book is a superb illustration, and the final line just says it all.
Honourable mention should go to the narrator who is *phenomenal*. Great dramatic performance AND she's very good at the many different international and regional accents, which is often such an irritation.
Can't praise it highly (or articulately) enough.

49 people found this helpful

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  • S. J. Veal
  • 02-22-19

Oh, I really am not sure I can make it to the end....

So, I don’t like being negative about any literature generally... and even shy away from reviews unless the whole experience is one I would recommend.. but this is really grating on me now, I am about 2/3 of the way through and unlike pretty much every one of my audio previous books ( of which would number in the hundreds), I don’t think I can make it all the way through. The narrator is good most of the time and her “normal” voice is sufficiently husky (filthy) and likeable (sexy) to narrate well, however the Russian and Nigerian accents do start to struggle at times to the degree I find myself thinking about skipping forwards to avoid them (but stugglingly haven’t so far), regardless of missing any plot twists (although there don’t seem to be any evidence there will be an clever sub plots at play as it’s a very linear book) and I can’t recommend it as the plot is paper thin and based on so much drivel I am getting a refund as quickly as possible.

Spoiler alert!!!!! Don’t read on less you want to hear further book details.

Omg! It’s like all the wimmin in this book go feral, packs of them roaming the countryside gathering up harvesting blokes to use as sex slaves, raping and knuckle bumping each other, killing children! Just so unbelievable...drives me nuts listening to this tosh! It’s like being able to have “the power” makes you superhuman, but where are the military ? It’s almost as if the author forgot that guns would still exist, it’s just so far fetched story most of the time I am biting my knuckles not to shout into the air that they are “F****** idiots”.

Please look worse where for you entertainment..

45 people found this helpful

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  • Barry
  • 07-23-18

Not the messiah, a very naughty trope.

I am an hour from the end of this and I am thoroughly depressed. The idea is that women, if they had the opportunity, would subject men to the worst excesses of inhumane treatment that has been visited on women through history. Don't tell me that I don't get it, that it is really shining a light on how women are treated by reversing the roles, i got it and I still didn't like it. I found this "shoe on the other foot" not challenging but childish. It is not truthful or honest about actual gender roles. It assumes that all men, with one or two exceptions, are beasts and not actually human beings at all. It relies on an oversimplified view of the world and sexual politics. It is not the messiah, it is a kind of wish fulfilment revenge porn masquerading as a clever concept. Sorry, but the concept is threadbare and obvious.

Parts of it are well written and it is well executed for what it is. The gushing reviews about blown minds and suggesting it should be mandatory reading at school are worrisome.

Fortunately for reality many men are prepared to defend the lives and the rights of others. Thank goodness life for the majority is not a game of men against women. Men and women get on much better than this author and others would like to admit. I fundamentally reject the notion that you can define a person by their gender. Nelson Mandela said that racism is racism whether practised by a white person or a black person. I think you can also say that sexism, regardless of the gender or sexual orientation of the perpetrator, is sexism. No one has a right of revenge against a whole gender or race - to suggest so is sexist and racist.

35 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrs Charlotte Gaeta
  • 02-22-17

Brilliant!

This is a must read for anyone who cares about relationships, human rights and everything in between. What starts off as a fantastic twist of fate which finally sets women on the path to the potential for proper equality gently and systematically turns the tables and shows how the gaining of power can corrupt. A morality tale for the 21st century, highlighting where inequality is still riff in the world and pondering whether if women ruled the world it would be any better? It's also an incredibly brilliant read!

24 people found this helpful

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  • Raine
  • 12-29-16

Visceral, Stirring and Inspirational

Would you consider the audio edition of The Power to be better than the print version?

I only listened to the audio version.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Power?

There were so many moments, but overall the finding of the 'power', as told by several different perspectives, was so intense and made you think so much. It made me reflect on so many issues in my daily life I never would have reflected on otherwise.

Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favourite?

I loved Ally. Her journey and how she changed over the course of the books, leading up to her final realisations of what she had become were incredibly moving and thought-provoking.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Absolutely!

Any additional comments?

The narration was the best I've ever heard on an audiobook. Wonderful.

23 people found this helpful

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  • blewp1977
  • 02-17-17

a clever and provocative narrative

This was an absolute find. Thought-provoking and compelling, I could have listened to this in one sitting.

16 people found this helpful

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  • the typist
  • 10-31-16

This book should be on the school curriculum

I adored this book and have no idea why it's not being hailed as a masterpiece. It basically holds up a mirror to the misogyny that's been endemic for thousands of years. Had I a daughter I'd make this essential for reading for her. I have already bought my son a copy. We need to breakdown gender stereotyping now. It's what limits all our children from reaching their full potential.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Lisa
  • 01-12-17

Great narration and engaging story

Please get Adjoa Andoh to narrate all of the books on audible. Her narration is engaging beyond belief, and she inhabits each character uniquely. With regards to the story itself, I very much enjoyed the idea of turning the genre structure of our current society inside out with the help of a novel within a novel set 1000s of years in the future. Looking forward to more from Naomi Alderman.

15 people found this helpful

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  • bookylady
  • 03-27-17

Wow! A shocking, visceral novel.Loved every minute

Any additional comments?

It is hard to do justice in a few lines to the amazing nature of this book. Naomi Alderman's vision of a world where women hold power over men through an astonishing physiological mechanism, is both terrifying and electrifying. The Power is about use and misuse of power, what sexual dominance actually means, how a shift in power can produce world-altering results and how power corrodes humanity and the psychology of relationships. The characters are wonderfully written and the attention to detail is fantastic. The plot is absorbing and full of twists and turns. Every female and male character adds to the story and brings it to a thought-provoking end. This is a novel that made me wince, laugh, cry and feel very uncomfortable at times. But it also held me spellbound, caught in a story I didn't want to end. Interestingly, as a female, I found many of the female characters unlikeable and deeply disturbing and I am still trying to work out why that was. This book will stay with me for a long time and I am desperate to discuss it with female friends.
The narration was fantastic.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-16-18

Fantastic thought experiment!

Great book, very simple concept well executed. The book takes a simple and obvious concept; that the physical power and strength men have that allows them to dominate women is the reason they have dominated governments, militaries and religion through the ages. It then imagines a future where women have the power to hurt and dominate men in the same way and how that would transform society. This future is not a feminist ideal of equality and peace but rather a dystopia of inequality and violence between the genders which is horrifying for its cruelty and injustice but much more viscerally for the way it holds up a mirror to the horrors of our current world.
Oh and the voice performances on the audiobook are entertaining and energetic.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Hilary
  • 09-21-17

Next Big Thing

I loved this book. Genuinely gutted when it ended. The characters were fascinating, the premise was well thought through, the story was performed with flair and drama. It felt more like a play than an audio book. Totally recommend.

8 people found this helpful

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  • J. Bird
  • 08-28-17

Great story

Nice job of turning gender bias and inequality on it's head. Captivating storyline and well narrated. I'd recommend this to anyone.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Jac Dircks
  • 03-28-18

Great concept but lacked depth

Some great passages, and a great exploration of the concept. Would love to hear what happened next. Some chapters were a little tacky or too dramatic, particularly conversations.
The big downer was the accents - they were pretty bad and detracted from storyline.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-24-18

Remarkable

A most remarkable and insightful exploration of power, gender, and what it might mean to be human. The intersection between writen history and gender is explored, in terms of its limiting effects. This is a marvelous book, and every woman and man should read it!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-18-18

Just couldn't get into it...

I wanted to like this book but I just couldn't quite get into it. The concept was great but the story itself was kind of average. Personally, the narrator is what killed this book for me in the end; she was more like a newsreader not a story teller.

2 people found this helpful

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  • MISS
  • 06-01-20

Interesting Concept re a change of Power

I liked the concept of the book, and a great way of looking at the idea of 'if women suddenly become more powerful than men' seen through the eyes of gender and race.
Great narration, felt more like a radio play at times.
Explores inequality through the concept of power.
I initially struggled to engage with the book, as it was hard to dip in and out of, I then started to listen on a long car trip and found it most enjoyable.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-13-19

promising and interesting but it waned

I was hooked for the first third, maybe half, but then it lost me. The 'power' is a great fictional device for inverting gender based inequalities for both serious and humorous effect.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • simon
  • 03-15-19

Fzzzt.

A great concept but the execution is woeful. The accents of the narrator are terrible - Southern American, African and Russian. Just read the story please. The ending is messy and rushed. The post script goes on far too long. The whole thing needed to be thought out better.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sarah
  • 03-05-19

Narration produced a gag reflex

Great concept and reasonably well executed. I felt that the main story sort of just petered out in the end.
But I reserve my main criticism for the woeful job done on the narration: frequently overwrought, at times verging on hysterical, it was as though the narrator thought it was all about her and her (very mediocre) acting skills rather than the story itself. And the accents - particularly the Russian/ Moldovan accents- were nothing short of appalling.

In all, the narration really distracted and detracted from the story itself, a great shame as the story was really rather interesting.

my recommendation: Read it, but avoid the audiobook.

1 person found this helpful