Tuesday, February 2

Book Review: The Unit

Title: The Unit

Author: Ninni Holmqvist

Pages: 268

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

Challenges: Read 'n' Review, Pages Read, 10/10 Challenge, 52 in 52 Challenge, 100+ Challenge,
A - Z Challenge, Countdown Challenge, Global Challenge, New Author Challenge,
Support Your Library Challenge, Wish I Read That Challenge


  1. Hmm! Does sound creepy but good. Now you've got me curious. I'll have to put it on my wish list to check it out later. Good write up.

  2. I've seen this book reviewed several times and it still intrigues me. I haven't picked up a copy yet, but it is on the list I refer to when I can buy books!

  3. There's something about this that reminds me of The Island.

  4. Great review! Dystopian lit always freaks me out but I'm still always drawn to them, lol.

  5. I've heard a lot about this book, and most of it has been good. I had no idea that it had such a frustrating ending though! I really want to read this, as I am a big fan of dystopian lit and the synopsis really intrigues me. Great review, I am glad that the ending didn't ruin the rest of the book for you.

  6. I must admit I am wary of translated works, something often seems to get lost. I'm intrigued by this though, may be time to give another translated work a go.

  7. I like dystopian fiction (although I haven't read a lot of it lately) but I'm a bit leery of this one now as I hate being disappointed or frustrated with how a book ends!

  8. Robin - It's worth checking out, it was on by TBR list for a good year or so before I finally got to it.

    Serena - If you can't buy it yet, you can always try the library ;). I also have a "list" I refer to when I can actually by books. Of course I can only bring select titles from that list when I go to the book store, as I'm sure the list is a mile long.

    Ladytink - The Island as in the movie? Or is there a book? I think I may know what you're talking about, and I think you have a good point. (If I'm thinking about what you're revering to)

    Jenny - Some dysyopain lit freaks me out, some has be clutching the book in anticipation and for more information to how the society got that way. 1984 and Handmaids Tale were big creep out for me.

    Zibilee - I think the frustrating ending depends on the person. Some will likely be satisfied with it, others not.

    Kylie - I admit there are times I question translated versions. Sometimes I question if thats what the author really intended. Overall I found this one to be done well. A few word choices were iffy to me a times, but it didn't take away from the overall story, or message I think the author tried to give the reader.

    Jeane - The ending was frustrating but it will depend on the reader how frustrating or not it is. What other dystopain lit of you read? Because there's some out there, that might help you decide if you want to read the book or not, because of the ending. Hopefully I haven't given to many spoilers with that.

  9. Great review! I've had this recommended to me after reading "Never let me go", it does sounds really disturbing read.

  10. Most recently I've read Oryx and Crake, Never Let Me Go, The Road, The Handmaid's Tale and Into the Forest (by Heglund). Some I liked, some I felt frustrated by...

  11. Disturbing and creepy...that's my kind of book. I have this one to review and I'm looking forward to reading it.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  12. Kay- I've never let read let me go, but it is on my TBR list, thinking of checking it out soon.

    Jeane - The second Atwood book you mentioned, sort of, loosely, reminds me of the ending in this. Only the ending was way more dissatisfying.

    Anna - hope you enjoy it when you read it.