Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Unit” as Want to Read:
The Unit
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Unit

3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,929 Ratings  ·  826 Reviews
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 fift ...more
Trade Paper, 268 pages
Published June 9th 2009 by Other Press (first published August 29th 2006)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Unit, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Semore Buttz idk m80, wouldn't be surprised to hear that this trash was based on something of value.
1984 by George OrwellThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsBrave New World by Aldous HuxleyFahrenheit 451 by Ray BradburyThe Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
56th out of 908 books — 2,357 voters
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins1984 by George OrwellThe Giver by Lois LowryDivergent by Veronica RothBrave New World by Aldous Huxley
Best Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic Fiction
202nd out of 2,513 books — 20,465 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Feb 20, 2014 karen rated it liked it
Shelves: dysto-teque
hmmm. so this was supposed to be for my "october is dystopian/apocalyptic month". and for most people, this book would definitely fall on the dystopian side of things. am i crazy for thinking i could thrive (for a few years anyway, until i run out of parts) in this type of environment? here's the rundown: if ladies don't have kids by the age of 50, and men by 60, and they have no elderlies of their own to take care of, or a job that involves caring for others (teacher, doctor, etc), they get shi ...more
The Unit is billed as a Sci-Fi dystopia. If so, it's just barely so. It's speculative with a lower case "s" but little more than that.

Told in the first person by Dorrit Weger -- the most insipid, pathetic, annoying narrator I've read in years -- The Unit is about a future in Sweden where old "dispensable" people (women at fifty and men at sixty who have no families or partners who've avowed love for them), are harvested for their organs and made subjects for medical testing while living the cush
Paquita Maria Sanchez
Feb 02, 2015 Paquita Maria Sanchez rated it it was ok
Shelves: literature
Cool, so not everything creepy that comes out of Sweden is good. I don't mean to delight in someone else's failure or proudly self-identify as 'Murican or anything, but I'm only human, and Sweden was starting to feel like America's prettier, more talented friend, with their Let the Right One In to our Twilight and their bands like The Knife to our Lady Gaga. Making us look like assholes. Which we are, but that's a discussion for another time and place. Anyway, haha. Nice dystopian "horror" there ...more
The Unit is the saddest piece of dystopian fiction I have ever read. Normally the genre leaves me angry or frightened or feeling the need for a good shower, but this made me feel heartbroken. The Unit is a place where women who have reached the age of 50 and men who have reached the age of 60 without having children are sent to live in order to participate in "humane" experiments and act as organ donors for the so-called needed. These people are known as dispensable.

The story portrayed is one wh
Suzanne (Chick with Books) Yester
Ninni Holmqvist's novel is compelling and disturbing at the same time. From the first turn of the page I was drawn into the futuristic world where childless women who have reached the age 50 and childless men at age 60 are "welcomed" into The Unit. A beautiful spa like setting with walking paths, beautiful gardens', wonderful food, medical experiments and body harvesting from their "residents". Our protagonist is Dorrit, a woman who never had a steady job, had a lover who lived with someone else ...more
Mar 02, 2010 Joshua rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2009
This was nearly a five star book for me and I don't give those out very often--probably only a few of them in the hundreds of books I've rated since starting this a few years ago. The only reason it didn't get 5 stars was because of the ending--big mistake for Holmqvist that didn't ruin it for me but it could have been a real classic dystopian novel. It was still really, really good but five stars is for the elite of the elite to me.

The Unit is set in Sweden in the near future and is a dystopia
Aug 09, 2010 Misha rated it it was ok
Recommended to Misha by: The Alternative World
Shelves: novel, 2010, dystopia
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
3.75 stars. This book takes place in Sweden, sometime in the near future. Dorret Weger has just turned 50 and must surrender her existence and dog, in order to be remanded to the Unit. 50+ year old women and 60+ year old men, deemed not needed by society go to the Unit, where they are subjected to various testing and organ harvesting. One is "dispensable" if s/he does not have children or does not create economic growth, so there are many artists and writers. Life is sterile but pleasant for the ...more
There are cases where I don't agree with the premise of a book, either because of my hangups or because it seems far out, and I still like the book. That's not the case with this book. It was distracting in its similarity in concept to one of my favorite books ever, Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go. And I can only say that this book disappointed in contrast.

I was not moved by this book, even though I was supposed to have been. I was more concerned with how this is even viable. The dispensable se
Wow I just flew through The Unit, and now my heart just aches for Dorrit, the Dispensables and for the society.

It's the near-future in Sweden, a society that values capital and societal value above individual life. If you are childless, not in a protected job, have no dependents and no loving relationship, you are considered to be "dispensable." Dispensables are taken to The Unit at age 50 for women or 60 for men-i.e. after they are no longer reproductively viable, with the intent to give back t
Lisa Vegan
Apr 30, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of dystopic novels
Recommended to Lisa by: Lee
There is a good summary of the plot in the book’s description field (it’s basically what I read in/on the book’s cover) so I don’t see the need to repeat any of the information in my review.

I loved this book and I think it is excellent, but it is also the most personally depressing book I’ve ever read, worse than The Bell Jar when I was 19, maybe as bad as As We Are Now if I read at age 79 or 80 vs. reading it first when I was 19 or 20.

Recipe for feeling devastated by this book (even more than t
Mar 01, 2013 Becky rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club
Brief synopsis: Dorrit turns 50 in a dystopian future Scandinavia, where people her age are politely imprisoned and harvested for parts if they've not managed to establish a family.

I wanted to love this book, because I love dystopian novels, and I've loved a couple other books with similar themes (notably Never Let Me Go and The Handmaid's Tale, two of my favorite novels). And while I liked it fine, I didn't manage to fall in love with Dorrit or her story. It delved into some themes that have so
At the end of this book I cried. Not with sadness at Dorrit's sacrifice and losses. But because since I've been an adult, I've never read a book that I felt so understood me. Those were the words I thought to myself as hot tears came to my eyes: "she understands." It is Elsa I cried for. And all the others.

When you read a lot, you recognize that those tropes you hear about how there are oly 7 plots in the world (or 10 or 5 or 3) are true. So when you run across a book with a truly novel point of
Aug 11, 2010 Becky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Unit is at once a painful book to read and yet remarkably absorbing. It is so believable that it horrified me. Once I finished reading it, I felt like a swimming pool inflatable with all the air let out, left to bob hopelessly under a darkened sky. The story (which is a first person narrative) tells us about Dorrit who has just turned fifty and is taken to the unit. Any woman who gets to the age of fifty and any man who gets to the age of sixty without having any dependents are classed as di ...more
Karen Germain
Nov 10, 2009 Karen Germain rated it it was amazing
This was a very upsetting and uncomfortable book to read. I actually cannot remember reading a book that made me so upset and downright angry. I think the most upsetting part was the idea out forth in the book that if you didn’t make the right life decisions, specifically have children or find someone who love you, you became a unwanted person. In “The Unit” self worth is only determined by others. It doesn’t matter how happy you are or comfortable you may be in your own skin, you are only wort ...more
Kristen Shaw
Mar 07, 2016 Kristen Shaw rated it it was amazing
Beautiful and heartbreaking. This is one of the best books I've read recently. Yes, it is "light" speculative fiction, but Holmqvist proves how effective this can be as a means to think about contemporary social issues. This will make you think about life, mortality, relationships, etc. And it is not going to be entirely pleasant, but I think it is worth it. Especially if you are going through a sad time or an existential crisis. It'll make you hurt in a good way. I hope to read more from this w ...more
Dec 31, 2015 Linda rated it it was ok
This book reminded me of Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. Both are dystopian concerning a society that condones using a certain class of individuals as the source of organs and other body parts to keep others alive. The author of this book is Swedish and the book is set in Sweden. As I was reading, I kept thinking that I would probably appreciate the book more if I know more about Sweden and its political climate - past and present. Without that, I struggled to understand how the law that thos ...more
Sep 07, 2015 Robin rated it really liked it
What would have to change in our world for there to be a new law stating that every woman over the age of 50 and every man over the age of 60 who is unmarried, has not produced a child, and does not hold an essential position in their work, should be taken from their homes and become the property of a biological bank, where they will live out their remaining years in participating in experiments and donating their organs until their "final donation"? This is a question Ninni Holmqvist never appr ...more
Jun 11, 2009 Heather rated it it was ok
In Ninni Holmqvist's dystopic first novel, The Unit, we visit a near-future wherein a human being's value is determined solely by how "necessary" they are.

When a single, childless person in a non-progressive industry reaches a certain age (fifty for women, sixty for men), that person is deemed "dispensable" and relocated to Sweden's Second Reserve Bank for Biological Material (or, perhaps, to their local Reserve Bank; whether this is a purely Swedish practice, or world-wide, is never explicitly
Jun 23, 2010 Jim rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Jim by: Books On The Nightstand
I read The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist cover to cover last night. I rarely do that. The book takes place slightly in the future in Sweeden where social and political changes, passed into law, stipulate the "dispensibility" of people based on whether they have children or not by a certian age. Those without children are deemed "dispensible" . At age 50 for women, and 60 for men, these aging Sweeds are ushered to a government run "Unit" where everything they could want is provided free of charge: mode ...more
Apr 17, 2014 Sterlingcindysu rated it really liked it
Update 4-17-14, moved from 3 to 4 stars. Another review made me realize that I still remember the plot and premise of this book and that's not bad after 3 years!

(original review) Another science fiction book on the premise of "what happens when people "aren't needed" in their old (50!) age." Well written, good story, I would have liked to have seen more written but perhaps that would have been depressing. So perhaps since it wasn't, that was an accomplishment in itself! (copied review) One day
Sep 04, 2010 Michelle rated it liked it
I love me a dystopian. You all know I love me a dystopian. Even a slower paced dystopian? Well yea, even then I love me some dystopian. But sadly, in this case I wouldn’t stretch quite that far in my declarations. I fall short of adoration with The Unit, but I sure did like it a great deal. It was very well done and I enjoyed it much more than I had anticipated I would, but still it was a bit too leisurely.

My first book in translation it took me awhile to adjust to the lengthy descriptions — par
Kay Elizabeth
Feb 17, 2010 Kay Elizabeth rated it really liked it
The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist (ISBN: 978-1590513132, Other Press) is a Dystopian book. Be prepared for a novel that seeps silently into your psyche and gives you the chills. This is one unusual and absorbing story that is not easily forgotten.

Dorrit Weger lives in a future society where if you’re a woman that’s not considered to be the cream of the crop, neither holding down an important job nor needed by anyone, you’re considered of little value after you reach your fiftieth birthday. You become
Oct 31, 2011 Malia rated it did not like it
Shelves: sci-fi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 15, 2016 Melinda rated it really liked it
This is one of those weird cases where a book was exactly what I thought it would be and nothing like what I thought it would be. The summary of this book lets you know exactly what is going on and, if you haven't read that, you would know by the end of the first chapter. There aren't any surprises in the plot, but this book raises some very interesting questions.

The basis of the story is chilling and inhumane, and that does not change--although it is interesting how starkly inhumane the situati
Вікторія Слінявчук
Непонятно, откуда взялось название книги. В оригинале книга называется "Ehnet" (что-то вроде "Блок", на английский переводился под названием "The Unit"), до того книга выходила на русском под названием "Биологический материал". В аннотации написано, что писательница "затрагивает одну из наиболее актуальных и животрепещущих тем для современной Европы - так называемое чайлд-фри". Оставим на совести автора аннотации утверждение, что тема чайлдфри прямо-таки одна из наиболее актуальных и животрепещу ...more
Sophie VERStand
Mit großer Freude ging ich dieser eher stillen Dystopie entgegen.
Im Schweden der 'nahen' Zukunft werden kinderlose Singles ab 50 (Frauen) und 60 (Männer) "entbehrlich" und in sogenannte Reservebanken einquartiert. Dort dienen sie für einige Jahre als lebendiges Ersatzteillager für Familien, welche die Gesellschaft mit 1-6 Kindern [damit auch mit 'Kapital'] versorgen. Mitunter nehmen sie anfangs erst an einigen Experimenten teil [bei denen das Überleben nicht unbedingt garantiert ist], um dann ei
Oct 08, 2014 Jilly rated it it was ok
Shelves: dystopia
If you are feeling philosophical, depressed, and in a very dark place - and you want to stay in that dark place of despair, this is the book for you! There is nothing happy, uplifting, or strengthening about this depressing dystopia set in Sweden where everyone over 50, and childless, is locked up to be human guinea pigs and organ donors until they die (within a few years).

Our hero, Dorrit, turns 50 and has been in an affair with a married man, so she has nobody to vouch for her that she is lov
Shellie (Layers of Thought)
Original review at Layers of Thought.

A translated novel set in a futuristic and twisted democracy, it borders on horror with a realistic feel making it all the more terrifying.

Set Up: A story taking place in Sweden at some undisclosed time in the future, where there has developed a truly warped social system.

The main character is a single women turning fifty. She has no family connections and is struggling financially. Dorit is required to enter a governmentally mandated enclave called “the unit
Blodeuedd Finland
Mar 16, 2012 Blodeuedd Finland rated it liked it
Shelves: dystopia
This book was disturbing, but in a quiet way. It felt so real, so now, so damn concerning.

Dorrit lives in a world that changed during her lifetime. The book did make me think of Never Let Me go. With the whole aspect that it feels so now, like it could happen any day. But that some people are not really treated well and made do donate organs. Here women over 50 and men over 60 are risking to go to the Unit. They are those who have no children and because of that they are not worth much. They do
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Could you recommend novels about pharmaceutical companies? 1 16 Nov 10, 2013 02:26PM  
  • Veracity
  • Native Tongue (Native Tongue, #1)
  • Daughters of the North
  • The Book
  • The Fortunate Fall
  • The Guardener's Tale
  • Kallocain
  • The Gate to Women's Country
  • Far North
  • A Gift Upon the Shore
  • He, She and It
  • The Slynx
  • Erase Me (Positron, #3)
  • The Sheep Look Up
  • Waiting for Columbus
  • Soft Apocalypse
  • Nekropolis
  • America Pacifica
Ninni Holmqvist lives in Skåne, Sweden. She is the author of three short-story collections, including 'Kostym (Suit)', and two novels. She also works as a translator.
More about Ninni Holmqvist...

Share This Book

“I was happy in the dream; but when I woke up it was with a feeling that I was falling apart, that I was cracking up from the inside and slowly falling to pieces. My heart was jumping and grating like a cold engine that doesn't want to start. My skin was crawling, and I couldn't manage a single clear thought. It was as if all my thoughts were crushed to bits just as they began to take shape. I didn't get much done that day.” 17 likes
“People who read books," he went on, "tend to be dispensable. Extremely.” 9 likes
More quotes…