A while back, I posted a picture on Instagram of a book chosen by my book group. It was The Power by Naomi Alderman. I didn't make it to that group discussion unfortunately but I brought the book on holiday with me and ever since I picked it up, I have been reading frantically.
It tells of a future where women hold the reigns of power in the world. Where this is normal. Where men are assumed to be the softer sex. And of how the world may have become that way. I won't go into the story - it would spoil it for you. I am not a book blogger and I am unused to writing reviews.
But occasionally on this blog, I have recommended books and I cannot recommend this one highly enough. It is a hard read in some places, with descriptions of violence both sexual and otherwise. But then you remember that in describing the women's violence against men, the author is simply describing the violence perpetrated against thousands of women on a daily basis in our own world. And suddenly you wonder why we read or watch so many reports of such treatment without being angrier. It has become commonplace to hear of rape, sexual slavery or women being trafficked.
I wrote, at around the time of Trump assuming power in the US, of the need to stay angry. For us not to allow the women's marches and protests of that time to fade away. This book should be read by all women - and preferably men as well. Not as a vision of what a matriarchal world should be. But as a call to continue the protest in our own time.
We are living in a world where Trump can still be elected - and even worshipped by many - despite his distain (far too polite a word) for the female fifty percent of the population. We are living in a world where an immensely successful female singer can be groped in a public place and then have to go to court to clear her own name (an experience shared by thousands of women of course). We are living in a world where women are still routinely denied the capacity to choose when to be pregnant. And so on, ad infinitum.
Read The Power if you have the opportunity. And then think about what needs to be done now.
[If you can't get the book, look it up on The Writes of Woman. There is an excellent synopsis plus an interview with Naomi Alderman. The book won the Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction 2017 in June.]