Tuesday, February 2
Book Review: The Unit
Author: Ninni Holmqvist
Summary: One day in early spring, Dorrit Weger is checked into the Second Reserve Bank Unit for biological material. She is promised a nicely furnished apartment inside the Unit, where she will make new friends, enjoy the state of the art recreation facilities, and live the few remaining days of her life in comfort with people who are just like her. Here, women over the age of fifty and men over sixty–single, childless, and without jobs in progressive industries–are sequestered for their final few years; they are considered outsiders. In the Unit they are expected to contribute themselves for drug and psychological testing, and ultimately donate their organs, little by little, until the final donation. Despite the ruthless nature of this practice, the ethos of this near-future society and the Unit is to take care of others, and Dorrit finds herself living under very pleasant conditions: well-housed, well-fed, and well-attended. She is resigned to her fate and discovers her days there to be rather consoling and peaceful. But when she meets a man inside the Unit and falls in love, the extraordinary becomes a reality and life suddenly turns unbearable. Dorrit is faced with compliance or escape, and…well, then what?
My Rating: 7.5/10
What I liked/disliked about the book: This was a very disturbing and creepy book. But I did enjoy it, even if it made me feel uncomfortable on so many levels. At times, it seemed like a very haunting look at what the possible future could hold. I love dystopian lit, and this one was a very different story than what I’ve read in the past. Although there were a lot of aspects I didn’t enjoy, which may be partly do to the fact it’s been translated, I did enjoy the book.
One aspect I didn’t like is we’re given no information about the community. The rules and some aspects of the community our characters lived in come up but briefly and in passing. I wanted to have some information on what was going on. What created the idea of “The Unit.” Another side of the story I disliked was the ending. I’ve seen other reviewers say this and I’m with them, I wanted to through the damn book across the room. Seriously! That was the ending? It made me so frustrated. I can’t say more, for fear of spoiling it, but really, I wasn’t expecting that for one (kudos to the author for that) and two, damn you ending!
What I did like, the characters. They weren’t memorable per se, but the way the author conveyed their emotions, feelings and thoughts was very well done. You felt for them, they were all helpless in the matter and no choice but to come to the Unit, and be experimented on and harvested from. You could really feel the fear, sadness, and anger the characters felt as they were pushed into the situation. No character really stuck out to me, none were that memorable, but the author still managed to make me feel connected to the characters, through the way she was able to express their emotions and thoughts.
Overall, it wasn’t as good as I expected, but I still really enjoyed the book, even the “ickiness” factor of it.
Would I recommend it to read: I would recommend the book. Even if you're not big on dystopian literature, I think that you could still "enjoy" the book. It's disturbing yes, but it brings up a lot of questions in your mind, if this could actually happen, the treatment of people now etc.
What to read next: The Handmaids Tale, Brave New World, The Giver
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