Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments has just been published, but I’m betting that many of you have already read it. Excitement has been running so high since Nan A. Talese/Doubleday announced they’d be publishing the sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale that it’s felt like every Atwood fan must have been setting aside a few days to read it as soon as it appeared in bookstores. So now what? Here are some other recent feminist novels for your post-Testaments rage-reading:
The Power by Naomi Alderman is the perfect book for our moment. What a premise: “All over the world, teenage girls develop the ability to send an electric charge from the tips of their fingers….Needless to say, there are those who are alarmed by this development. There are efforts to segregate and protect boys, laws to ensure that women who possess this ability are banned from positions of authority….But, ultimately, there’s no stopping these women and girls once they have the power to kill with a touch,” says our starred review. “Very smart and very entertaining.”
Red Clocks by Leni Zumas resembles Atwood’s books in that the United States has banned abortion and Canada seems like a safe haven, but in Zumas’ world, women trying to cross the “pink wall” of the border are sent back to the U.S. to be prosecuted. Told from the perspectives of five different women in a small Oregon town, the book is “a good story energized by a timely premise but perhaps a bit heavy on the literary effects,” according to our review.
Women Talking by Miriam Toews takes place in the current world, not a dystopian future, but the women of the title feel like they could be living at any time: They’re the residents of a Mennonite colony in South America, and they’ve gathered in a barn to discuss what they should do now that they’ve found out that some of the men in their community have been drugging and raping them while they slept. Our starred review calls the book “stunningly original and altogether arresting.”
Laurie Muchnick is the fiction editor.