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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Unit - Ninni Holmqvist

A little while back I was contacted by Whitney from Other Press asking if I wanted to review The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist. I always state that I only read what I want to read and may or may not review or like it. She was totally fine with that and I received a copy. So I snagged it yesterday from my shelf to read...and I read it all in one day. That's pretty unusual for me. It was that good.

I'm a sucker for dystopian novels. I just love them. I'm even doing my own dystopian novel challenge. So this just fit right in.

If you enjoyed Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, then you'll love this. While Atwood's tale was especially scary for women, this tale is gender un-biased on it's creepiness.

Ok, here's the synopsis:

This terrifying not-so-distant future takes place in Sweden. Dorritt Weger is turning fifty and her life is about to change. Although she is fit, healthy, and relatively happy, she is as labeled dispensable. She is not married nor does she have kids. So she packs her bags, has to give her beloved dog a new home, and is packed off to The Unit.

The Unit is like a slice of paradise. There's beautiful gardens, delicious food, swimming pools and saunas, and stores with luxury clothing. And it's all free. The catch...they are guinea pigs and organ donors bit by bit until their final donation. Some tests are simple psychological ones. Others test drugs and have horrible side effects. Some organ donations are easy such as kidneys, others, like cornea donations have obvious setbacks to the donor. Some people in The Unit live there for a handful of years and some are just there a short while.

Dorritt doesn't really question all of this. Obviously she'd rather not be there and misses her dog and her old life terribly, but escape is never really thought of. That is until she finds love with someone in The Unit and it gives her a reason to live. What then?

Like Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, I thought this future was terrifying. The idea that some people are more dispensable than others is just horrifying. This book really sucked me in and I think it's a must-read dystopian novel.

Thank you Other Press for the chance to read and review this book!

Also Reviewed by:
A Book Blog. Period.
A Bookish Way of Life
Bookfoolery and Babble
Devourer of Books
Shelf Love


  1. This sounds SO good. Thanks for bringing it to attention!

  2. This book has continued to haunt me since I read it last month. I'm so glad to see it getting the attention it deserves.

  3. Excellent review!!! I love the way you described The Unit as "gender un-biased in its creepiness".

  4. Have you read Ishiguro's "Nevet Let Me Go"? Some of the ideas are very similar. This book sounds better every time I read about it!


  5. This sounds like something I would like -- I love a good dystopian fright. I don't think I've read one since The Road.

  6. I've heard a lot of good things about this one. It's on my shelf, and I can't wait to read it. Thanks for the review.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  7. This sounds like an interesting read. After reading Life As We Knew It and The Giver, I wasn't sure if I handle another dystopian novel but this one might be ok.

  8. This one sounds really interesting! I love me a good dystopian novel every once in a while. And if it can live up to The Handmaid's Tale... well then it is pretty darn worth while.


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