Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Unit


Imagine a world where people in their fifties and sixties who are childless and unattached, are declared 'dispensable.' These 'dispensables' are rounded up and sent to a unit where they live out the rest of their few remaining years as organ donors to the more indispensable people in society. This is the bleak and horrifying future depicted in the Swedish novel The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist.

Dorrit Wenger has just turned fifty and is forced to leave her home and beloved dog. At first Dorrit is angry and sad but she soon finds herself adapting to her comfortable environment. The unit is beautiful and pristine, filled with lush man-made gardens. Dorrit has her own apartment complete with a living room, bedroom and kitchen. The only reminder that she's not really at home are the cameras in every corner watching her every move. The unit is also filled with the latest sports facilities, restaurants, cinemas, art galleries and theatres. In fact, it has everything needed to make the donors have a pleasant time while they take part in various tests and operations. Dorrit soon gets used to the cameras and meets dozens of people who are in the same situation as her. The enclosed environment of the unit is fertile ground for very deep friendships and even love. Then something quite unexpected happens. I won't say anymore in case you read the book.

The Unit is a page-turner though quite chilling and disturbing in parts.The author's writing is simple yet still quite descriptive. This is a cautionary tale and one that's open to a lot of discussion. It would make an excellent book club choice.

You can check out another review at Bina's blog: If You Can Read This

14 comments:

  1. I added this to my wish list a while ago due to another blggers review so I'm glad you haven't given much away!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have heard good things about this book. Definitely one I want to read, though why does she have to leave her dog. I hate it when they involve animals!

    ReplyDelete
  3. This sounds fantastic - it's going on the wishlist! Very sensitive topic, especially for a single lady...though I am a fair few decades short of being surplus, I hope! Great review!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've had this on my wish list for a while; thanks for the great review!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I don't usually pick up utopian/dystopian fiction but I made an exception for this and loved it. It was one of my favorite books last year. Fascinating how they define "productive" in that anything creative is eliminated from that mix. Weren't those "procedures" truly disturbing?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sounds horrifying but intriguing. Books like this are tough for me. It has taken me a while to get over The Handmaid's Tale, which I just read recently. Maybe down the road, I'll give this one a look. Thanks for the review!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I LOVED this book. It was simple but heart-wrenching and I too normally don't like dystopian novels.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh, my: just reading your review brought the power of this read rushing back. I found it fantastically gripping and even now, months later, am struck by how clearly I remember aspects of the story.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oooh, this sounds absolutely chilling! What a great review!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have this on my bookshelf - I picked it up on a whim last year, but have yet to read it. Your review of it really makes me think that I should read this book ASAP. It sounds so interesting and this idea of dispensables is crazy and intriguing at the same time. I'm thinking that this will be one of my summer reads. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh Boy I have to read this one. I find myself wishing for a teeny tiny spoiler :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. This definitely sounds like a thought provoking read that would lend itself to a very lively book club discussion.

    ReplyDelete
  13. This is the 2nd review I have seen for this book and it sounds like one I need to pick up - thanks for the review!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I saw this quite a bit on several blogs during the winter, and then I forgot all about it. I'm so glad you reminded me of it here because I'd really like to read it. For some reason, it makes me think of Blindness by Saramego, which is a book I'll never forget it. I love those eerie, thought-provoking, can't-soon-forget kinds of books.

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails