Sunday, 7 May 2017

Bailey's Book Prize book two

The Power by Naomi Alderman

Next out of my Bailey's Prize box came The Power by Naomi Alderman and I didn't have such a great relationship with this book. Part of the problem was probably the 'book hangover' Do Not Say We Have Nothing left me with.  After falling in love with a book so completely the book that comes after it always suffers I find.

The ideas behind The Power all made me think that the book was going to be for me.  All of a sudden girls (and women) get a new power that makes them the dominant gender and the way the world is run gets turned on its head. Sort of.

The premise of the book is that here is a devastating event and all history before this new power is lost, the book presents as a piece of academic research charting what happens in the run up to this event and the resetting of history. It is told from four alternating points of view, three female and one male and eventually all four characters interact.

To say more will spoil the book and I found bits of it very clever, I didn't have a problem with the way the narrator changed so frequently but I never felt like I was a part of the story. This could have been intentional as the start and end do remind you that this isn't supposed to be novel but is a piece of 'academic research' although I confess I did lose sight of  this while I reading.

I also didn't have a problem with the authors idea of how history (and people) would unfurl after such an event. There were also some killer lines, especially the very final one! I didn't like the author writing herself into the book but that is just a personal peeve. I've been thinking about this book for several days and I can't quite explain why this book didn't hit the spot for me.

To be fair I can't say that in the end I really disliked this book, a few days after finishing it I am still turning over the ideas presented and I loved the ideas at the heart of it...but...I also can't say I liked it hugely. It didn't feel particularly new to me and even reading the ending of the main part of narration twice I am not 100% certain quite what happened.  My overriding feeling is that this would have made a great short story.

Oh dear - I really don't like writing about books that don't quite hit the mark for me but I did promise to write about all of the Bailey's Book prize books honestly. On to book three...

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