Published: 2009, 272 pgs.
Review: 3.5/5 stars
Set in a not-so-distant future in Sweden, The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist is a novel about what might happen if society decided that a person's contribution to the nation became more important than the individual himself. Dorrit Weger begins her story as she is being placed in the unit, a facility where childless individuals who reach the age of 50 or 60 are taken to be used in humane medical and psychiatric tests. They have very nice accommodations and want for nothing in the way of physical comforts but they are essentially guinea pigs. They live there in the unit with no communication to the outside world and participate in different medical trials until they make their final donation, such as a liver, lungs, heart, etc.
I had a hard time putting this book down. I just really wanted to know what was going to happen. I liked and cared about the characters. I did have a few problems with the book though. For one, it just was too implausible. The way everything was described it seemed like the unit could exist now rather than the future. There was talk of DVDs and CDs and the technology just wasn't futuristic. For me that made it feel so close to present day that I couldn't accept that a government or a society would allow this kind of treatment of people. If something is placed far enough in the future than it seems more credible to me and I can swallow the premise better. I think I didn't get into the story quite as much as I would have liked to because it just wasn't believable to me. That being said, I did like the book. I have to warn you though that this does not come even close to qualifying as a "good, clean read."
Rating: 4.1.4 There are several descriptions of sex that I felt were gratuitous and unnecessary. I really don't mind if there is some sex in a book (you may find that hard to believe considering the premise of my blog) but it never has to be described as thoroughly as it is in this book. There were also two instances of very harsh language and a smattering of lighter profanity.