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The Unit

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3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  3,794 ratings  ·  693 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)
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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
Dystopia!
56th out of 719 books — 1,922 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
183rd out of 1,877 books — 16,669 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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karen
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
Brad
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...more
Paquita Maria Sanchez
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
Denae
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...more
Misha
Aug 09, 2010 Misha rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Misha by: The Alternative World
Shelves: 2010, novel, dystopia
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Joshua
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...more
Becky
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...more
Becky
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
Cindy
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...more
Kay Elizabeth
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...more
Carin
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...more
Lisa Vegan
Apr 30, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars
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...more
Karen Hansen
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
Heather
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...more
Jim
Jun 23, 2010 Jim rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
Sterlingcindysu
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...more
Michelle
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...more
Malia
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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...more
Sharon
The Unit was one of those books that had basically no impact on me. With such a dark and disturbing concept one would think, that I wouldn't be able to get this book out of my head. The very idea of labeling people disposable and sending them off for medical experiments is beyond sick, but the characters were just so boring. The setting was so drab and the people so boring that I barely made it to the end.

There was also this issue of women's rights that kept cropping up throughout the book. It w...more
Nadine
"The Unit" spielt in Schweden zu einer Zeit, in der Frauen über 50 und Männer über 60, die aus Sicht der Regierung und der Gesellschaft bis dahin ein "selbstsüchtiges Leben" geführt haben und keine eigenen Kinder zum Wohlergehen des Landes beigetragen haben als "entbehrlich" angesehen werden. Sie müssen ihr bisheriges Leben aufgeben und in eine geschlossene Wohnanlage übersiedeln. Dort werden medizinische Experimente mit ihnen durchgeführt, so dass sie der Gesellschaft gegenüber nun doch noch ih...more
Weavre
Aug 04, 2009 Weavre rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Weavre by: Elaine Schall--and thank you!
Shelves: other-realms
Interesting. The Unit is a well-written dystopia that raises worthwhile questions for readers who might otherwise not have considered them.

There were times, though, when I felt that Holmqvist was a bit too heavy-handed with her anti-leftist imagery. In the world she portrays, for example, it's actually illegal for a man to chop wood while his female partner prepares a meal, even if both parties are truly happiest with this arrangement; traditional gender roles have been banned, as has overt flir...more
Grace Harwood
I'm a huge fan of dystopian literature and, as the cover recommends, really enjoy a good Orwell or Huxley novel, and this book by a novelist who is new to me, was just so fantastic, I sat down to read it and devoured it in three sittings. In fact, it was one of those books where I just didn't want it to end, I was enjoying it so much.

I loved the characters who, as the lead characters in the story, were original in that it was older adults who were cast as the heroes and heroines, who fell in lov...more
Daniel
Ninni Holmqvist entführt uns in "Die Entbehrlichen" in eine Welt, in der man gelernt hat die Logik über die Ethik zu stellen. Was "Gut" und was "Böse" ist, wird an Hand der eigenen Nützlichkeit festgelegt. So erscheint es selbstverständlich, dass ein Mensch der zum Beispiel nicht für Kinder zu sorgen hätte oder keine nennenswerten Erfolge im Berufsleben aufweist, weniger Wertvoll für die Gesellschaft ist, als jemand bei dem dies schon der Fall ist.

Diesen Gedanken weitergesponnen erleiden alle 50...more
M
The Unit is a cleverly titled dystopian novel lurking somewhere in the shadows of The Handmaid's Tale, describing a society wherein people who have not had children by the time they are biologically able to are exiled to The Unit, an underground (in more ways than one) facility that hosts these 'dispensibles' until they are harvested for organs.
The thrust of this work is one that is hard for me to understand. The premise indicates an enormous amount of cynicism and mistrust towards tomorrow (or...more
Shannon
The premise of this book was so promising, so thought-provoking. Imagine you had been deemed disposable, so disposable that you are required to give up everything in the most literal sense imaginable, to support those who have been deemed more important. And instead of a peaceful retirement where one might enjoy the fruits of a lifetime's labor, you're brutally ripped from everything you hold dear and forced to endure increasingly more horrific sacrifice on others' behalf. Horrific!

And then the...more
Mandy
I thought this was pretty good on the whole. In some ways if felt too big a subject for the author, as though she wasn't quite up to the implications of what she was describing, and so got by with merely describing the surface rather than the psychological impact such a way of life would have had on the whole of society. I feel as though there's another book in there somewhere, one with a bit more depth. However, it's very readable and thought-provoking, and a book I read almost at one sitting,...more
Carolyn
Definitely a book that makes you think - and with an ending that was surprising. A book I first thought of as a dystopia, but that determination could be argued.
An excellent translation, and very interesting to read a book coming from an author from another country/culture. That came through in some very subtle ways.
Highly recommended.
Billyf27
I don't think I will ever be able to forget this book.
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1232086
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...
Kostym Något av bestående karaktär Biroller Precis som att börja om Tornet ; Nästan hela livet

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“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.” 13 likes
“People who read books," he went on, "tend to be dispensable. Extremely.” 10 likes
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