Living in the age of Trump and Weinstein and Don Burke is a very strange time. The revelations of so many, varied forms of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace and beyond brings hope that this culture is changing, that the world will be safer for women. (And men… imagine a world safer for everyone?). But I find it is also a fearful place to be, where there is a lot of knee jerking response, and men (and women) are often defensive in a way that builds my fear of backlash that could create a nastier and more dangerous world. It’s brain twisting.
So, imagine a world where women suddenly have a physical power, the ability to deliver electric shocks. Suddenly, women are physically stronger, and are able to dominate men in almost every way. How would this play out across the globe? In places where women are clearly oppressed, like Saudi Arabia, compared to places where the power gap is far more minimal, such as the US or the UK? Would the world be a kinder place, a gentler place?
I cannot stop thinking about this book. I listened to it through Audible (and huge kudos to the narrators – the author, Noami Alderman, as well as Adjoa Andoh, Thomas Judd, Emme Fenney and Phil Nightingale) and finished it several weeks ago, but it keeps coming back to me. It was brought to my attention because it won the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction this year and I think I have recommended it to everyone I know, including strangers in a bookshop (to be fair, we were recommending books to each other). Alderman has such a great imagining of a wide range of possibilities.
I often like to re-read a book, but usually after time has passed and I can view it anew. But with this one, I can’t wait. I need to read it again. And probably again.