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The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist

>> Monday, January 18, 2010

The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist
Genre: Dystopian Fiction
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 268
Challenges: Support Your Local Library #2
Source: Library

The Short Version:
A 50 year old woman does what is expected by her dystopian society and leaves the reader sad and disturbed because it’s all too frighteningly plausible.

Why I Read It:
I’ve seen a lot of reviews and knew enough about the book to make me curious and wanting to read it for myself.

The Book:
Shortly after she turns 50, Dorrit Weger reports as expected to the Second Reserve Bank Unit for Biological Material. She is ‘dispensable’. She has no partner or children and does not work in what is considered to be an important job. In The Unit, she joins other women over 50 and men over 60. Their responsibilities now are to live in this near country club atmosphere while being available for research and medical reasons as society determines to be necessary

My Thoughts:
I thought this book was excellent, but I cannot say I ‘liked’ it. It’s a story that is extremely good and well written but also disturbing enough to be one that I’ll be thinking about for a while. The world portrayed in this book is just plausible enough to make it frightening and disturbing.

The characters are interesting and likeable for many different reasons. As Dorrit adjusts to her new life in The Unit, her point of view allows the reader to gradually learn the truth of what is going on. Dorrit seems resigned to her duty, but at the same time the reader feels her uncertainty and the way she misses her life outside in the community and particularly her beloved dog who has been her constant companion for years.

Holmqvist does an excellent job of portraying happiness and even hopefulness in the midst of despair in this book, but there is ultimately an overwhelming sadness that permeates The Unit

It’s not an easy book to read, particularly for someone my age, and despite the fact that I won’t say I ‘liked’ the book, I thought it was an excellent and well written story. In my opinion it’s a story that should serve as a warning. The scariest part is that it’s really not that far from the realm of possible future for all of us.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5


Chris 1/18/2010 7:28 AM  

Someone mentioned this one to me in the comments of my dystopian post this weekend. I'm really curious about it now.

Geri 1/18/2010 9:40 AM  

I would really like to read this. Thank you so much for your review. Going to look to see if it available for my Sony. You are so right...the premise is scary!

Framed 1/18/2010 9:41 PM  

I haven't read very many dystopian novels but this sounds disturbing. Maybe because of my age as well.

Anna 1/19/2010 10:47 AM  

This book is sitting on my shelf, and I hope to get to it soon. I like disturbing dystopian novels, and it sounds like this book gives you a lot to think about.

Diary of an Eccentric

alisonwonderland 1/19/2010 5:48 PM  

I've had my eye on this one. Your review makes me want to get to it soon - even if it's disturbing!

SuziQoregon 1/19/2010 9:15 PM  

Chris: I was curious too, and now I'm glad I read it. It's still making me think.

Geri: Hope you can find it for your Sony.

Framed: It's an interesting read, even if you're not a dystopian fan. I think there are elements that make both middle aged folks and younger folks think - life choices made early on do resonate all our lives, even into futures that may not have been plausible when those life choices were made.

Anna: It definitely does. I'm still bouncing it around in my head.

AlisonWonderland: Disturbing, yes. Makes you wonder and think, yes. Good book - definitely.

kay - Infinite Shelf 1/21/2010 7:19 AM  

Great review! I've been recommended this one quite often after reading Never Let me Go, and I can't wait to do so. It sounds intriguing, and a little disturbing.

Kailana 1/23/2010 3:13 PM  

I have this book but I haven't got around to reading it yet. I am looking forward to seeing what I think of it before long.

Teddy Rose 1/24/2010 5:14 PM  

I thought this was a good book. I rated it 3.5/5. There were 2 criticisms that I had. 1. The over use of similes and no acknowledgment of what may have been happening in the rest of the world.

This is the link to my review, if interested:

SuziQoregon 1/26/2010 9:02 PM  

Kay: Oh I haven't read Never Let Me Go yet. I keep hearing good things about that one too. I think I want to not read it too close to this one, though.

Kailana: it's good, but will definitely leave you thinking.

Teddy Rose: I think for me I was so caught up in the story that I let some of that slide. I find I notice that kind of stuff more when I'm less engaged with the story. Thanks for the link to your review.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment. I read and respond them here although not always right away. If you would prefer an email response let me know.

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