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