Although the author is still quite early in her career, she’s published a few important novels that haven’t failed to thrill and challenge readers. This includes her best-known work of fiction—The Power and Disobedience.
Winner of the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and named one of the 10 Best Books of the year by The New York Times, The Power is certainly Alderman’s best-known book. It is also commonly considered her best novel.
It was inspired by a long history of dystopian feminist fiction and was the result of a mentorship with famous Canadian author Margaret Atwood, best known for her novel The Handmaid’s Tale.
The novel imagines a world in which women take on the dominant role in society. They become the oppressors, leaders, and warmongers and inflict acts of violence on less powerful men after developing the ability to create electric shocks from their fingertips.
The novel focuses on several main characters, including Roxy, a girl whose childhood trauma influences her understanding of the world; Margot, a future US Senator who promotes the creation of camps to train girls to use their powers; and Allie (also known as Eve) who hears a voice in her head and becomes famous worldwide.
Disobedience was Naomi Alderman’s first novel, published in 2006. It follows a North London rabbi’s bisexual daughter, Ronit Krushka, and her life in New York. Since its publication, it’s been translated into ten languages and received some controversial reviews. The book is thought to have been inspired by the author’s orthodox Jewish community she grew up in before moving to America.
Disobedience won the 2006 Orange Award for New Writers and the 2007 Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award. When speaking about the novel, Alderman described how the process of writing and finishing it turned her off of religion.
The Lessons is another Alderman novel that focuses on Oxford University, where the author went to school and a group of friends, and what being rich does to one’s life. The main character, Mark Winters, is at the heart of a collective of unique characters. They include Emmanuella, on-again off, again lovers Franny and Simon, James, and musician Jess. The novel focuses on themes like wealth, poverty, and friendship. Here is a short quote from the novel:
There is no safety that does not also restrict us. And many needless restrictions feel safe and comfortable. It is so hard to know, at any moment, the distinction between being safe and being caged. It is hard to know when it is better to choose freedom and fear, and when it is simply foolhardy. I have often, I think, too often erred on the side of caution.
As the friends move away from the structure of University, they deal with an overwhelming tragedy that they are not ready for. The Lessons was published in 2010 and took the author four years to complete.
The Liars’ Gospel
The Liars’ Gospel was published in 2012. It focuses on Jesus, known in the novel as Yehoshuah, who works as a preacher in Judea. It tells the story of Jesus in a way that readers are unlikely to expect. After his death, the author notes, people tell stories about his life. Specifically, Mary, Judas, Caiaphas, and Barabbas. Here is a quote:
For a man to follow you, it must seem that you are the one who knows the way out. Every person is in a dark place. Every person wants to feel that some other man has found the road back into the light.
The Liars’ Gospel tells the history of the time as well as depicts a sometimes controversial image of Jesus as an inconsequential preacher.
Doctor Who: Borrowed Time
Naomi Alderman’s Doctor Who: Borrowed Time was inspired by the BBC series of the same name and featured the 11th Doctor, Amy Pond, and Rory Williams. It tells the story of one man’s desire to make more time in his life and the cost that might incur. Here is a quote from this unique Naomi Alderman novel:
So he kept going. He worked hard. He put his heart and mind and soul into it. There was an opening for a position half a rung higher than he already was. With a promotion, he might get two hours a week of a secretary’s time. He’d go to more important meetings, with more senior people, and have the opportunity to impress them, and if he did he might be promoted again and then… well, of course eventually he’d be running the whole office.
In addition to being a fun, adventure, science fiction novel, the book also asks readers to consider how banks and other financial institutions take advantage of their customers. Readers have praised Alderman for her ability to capture the much-loved characters like they’re depicted on screen.
Is The Power a dystopian novel?
Yes, The Power is a dystopian novel. It takes place in a world that’s falling apart. Albeit there are many positives that come about due to women developing the power, the negatives are far-reaching and remake the world as we know it.
What is The Power about?
The Power focuses on a dystopian world in which women gain an impressive new power—the ability to emit electric shocks from their fingertips.
Who is the voice in The Power by Naomi Alderman?
The voice is unknown for much of the novel. But it eventually turns out that Allie’s god-like internal voice is just a psychological defense tool that allows her to do what she wants to do anyway.
Is Disobedience based on a book?
Disobedience is a book by English author Naomi Alderman, published in 2006. It received mixed reviews, some of which cite the novel as controversial in its depiction of religion and sexuality.