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The Power

Written by: Naomi Alderman
Length: 12 hrs and 4 mins
3.0 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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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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  • Tim
  • 09-01-18

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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  • NurseLisa
  • 06-09-20

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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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-10-19

WOW

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

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Zaira
  • 02-11-18

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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  • Raine
  • 29-12-16

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.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Lisa
  • 12-01-17

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.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Maya Connell
  • 09-01-17

Okay, yes, oddly stared...

So... I really enjoyed this, but as a whole piece! There were certainly sections that frustrated me, or I did not understand why they were integral to the whole arc of the story- even if they might be interesting . Some of the actors voices also drove me a little mad but overall and for the 'main' characters I found her enjoyable to listen too. As a whole story, as a comment on society and a almost parallel universe idea it was sound and extremely enjoyable. This book did leave me thinking about the world differently which is what all good books should do.
Highly recommend!

8 people found this helpful

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  • jo
  • 18-12-16

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.

46 people found this helpful

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  • Asper
  • 26-01-17

Awesome, in the true sense of the word

Would you listen to The Power again? Why?

Yes. The story is both compelling and well written, and the Adjoa Andoh is easily one of the best narrators I've heard.

What did you like best about this story?

The tenacity of the plot; prologue and epilogue serve as a heady contrast to the main body of the work, especially in audiobook format.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

It's difficult to say without spoling the plot. There are so many viewpoints and reflections of our patriarchal society, it really is something to listen to. This book would be an excellent read for teenagers of both sexes.

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

Easily.

Any additional comments?

Alderman takes a subject currently under much discussion - that of whether gender is innate, or even an undeniable factor in how people are in themselves, and how they treat each other; or if we are all people, some of the female sex and some of the male, all capable of the same highs and lows.

I am so very glad this book didn't trek down the well travelled road of females being more nurturing, more caring; that a matriarchal society would be inherently better. After all, the sex of ones brain is not biologically discrete from the rest of ones body; and although society likes to think so, men and women are only physically different. The most compelling thing, for me, were the many moments of 'what if' triggered whilst listening to this.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Mrs Charlotte Gaeta
  • 22-02-17

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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  • blewp1977
  • 17-02-17

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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  • Kaggy
  • 24-10-17

A thriller to make you think

My head is still buzzing several days after finishing this story and I don't think I have ever read something that horrified and inspired me quite as much as this. Naomi Alderton has a fresh and insightful voice and the ability to write a thrilling and captivating tale to really make you think about power and its abuse, both in an imagined future and the real world we live in today. The narration of this audiobook is first class but a special mention has to be made of Adjoa Andoh who is one of the best narrators around.

8 people found this helpful

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  • AandL272
  • 26-02-17

amazing

This book is beautifully written; Naomi Alderman has an excellent ear for the voices of her cast. I especially liked her narration which added to the text- no rushed prose and emphasis perfect. There wasn't one point where I could guess what happened next. The characterisation was rich and complex, believable flawed people. What a pleasure to hear.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Barry
  • 23-07-18

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.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 16-08-18

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.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 24-12-18

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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  • Jac Dircks
  • 28-03-18

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.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Hilary
  • 21-09-17

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.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 18-09-18

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
  • 01-06-20

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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  • Anonymous User
  • 13-05-19

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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  • simon
  • 15-03-19

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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  • Sarah
  • 05-03-19

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

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  • J. Bird
  • 28-08-17

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