‘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?
So this was the final book from the Bailey’s Prize shortlist that I read and I adored it. I already had a feeling it would be my favourite from the blurb and would have read it faster but there was a huge queue for it at the library. I’m glad I finally got to read it as it’s such a good book and I hope it wins.
As the blurb shows, the concept of the book is “What if the power to hurt were in women’s hands” and it does this by following four different characters. Two are young girls who have the power, one whose father is a crime lord and the other who has bounced around the foster system. The third is a young man from Nigeria who ends up recording the events as a journalist. The final character is a politician who receives the power through her daughter. Together through the four of them we chronicle the events that happen from when the power first starts appearing until the final “cataclysm” at the end.
The novel contains a frame-tale where the story itself is describing the historical events and between chapters, there are sometimes inclusions of images of historical finds which I really enjoyed.
The characters are all very interesting and well developed and I really enjoyed seeing their growth and their motivations and how they personally used the power. They all seemed very realistic and the events that happen in the novel due to women gaining this power is definitely very believable and interesting.
I highly recommend this novel and it’s an excellent depiction of an interesting concept. Just like the rest of the Bailey’s Prize shortlist it is definitely worth a read and I look forward to seeing how it does.