All of the sudden, girls all over the world are suddenly able to use their hands to produce an electrical current. This is really cool at first, but then, predictably, the power corrupts some of them and the world order starts to shift as a result.
If it sounds to you like Margaret Atwood and George Lucas got cozy and popped this book out, you're not that far off. It's a very dystopian-future, sci-fi-y piece meant to provoke discussion about gender privilege and equality that has some epic electric fight scenes. What's not to like?
And really, it works quite well. Author Naomi Alderman chooses a smart set of character to trade off on narration, and each of them is likable yet guarded at the same time. Together, they give us a comprehensive set of windows into the world that help us see the issues from a few different angles. Perhaps the only story line we lack is that of an oppressed man, which, although HILARIOUS to write, is actually the truth in this book.
My favorite part of Alderman's telling is the framing of the story itself: the actual story is presented to the reader as a work by a man living in a female dominated world. This is explained through a series of letters between the male author and his mentor, a powerful female writer, who suggests at the close of the book that he might have a better chance at getting published if he assumes a female pseudonym. DAMN. Now that's a mic drop.
Super interesting. Super thought-provoking. Super timely.