Lisa Loving's Reviews > The Unit

The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist
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Mar 13, 12

Read in March, 2012

Much like Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let me Go, this dystopian novel deals with the emotional lives and relationships of people slated for organ donation. Dorrit Weger is "dispensable" - deemed unnecessary to society due to being single and childless past the age of 50. Dispensable people are sent, upon their 50th birthday, to "The Unit", a reserve bank of "biological material" where they live out their brief remaining lives in relative splendor, compared to what they would have had as impoverished members of "the community" of needed (breeding) people in the world at large.

Here, people are so much capital, and life/body parts are divided up and doled out among those who need it most, and can produce the most in return (financially through income or by providing new generations of people/income producers). The dispensable ones are also portrayed as the sensitive, introverted, artistic/intellectual type - who are apparently not valued as much and spend most of their lives alone, with uncertain futures, never finding love or a sense of community until they find each other in the unit, where they begin to participate in medial experiments and to donate vital organs.

This is an interesting look at how human life can be valued, as if it is a commodity. Also a poignant social criticism of the way society views those who are "different" and not part of the mainstream. I enjoyed this book and literally couldn't put it down; I started it one morning and read straight through to the end, some 8 hours later. I would give it 5 starts but the ending felt a little abrupt; not sure I got the resolution I wanted. Still - an engaging read, piercing social commentary, and just enough weirdness to satisfy. Fans of Margaret Atwood would like this book, I believe.
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