I have just finished reading “The Unit” by Ninni Holmqvist.
It is a very dystopian novel, set in a world where women aged 50 and men aged 60, who have no children, partner or successful career progression, are sent to live in a special Unit where their every need is taken care of but they have no more contact with the outside world and are forced to take part in scientific experiments and donate parts of their bodies, before the making their final donation.
The men and women live together in an almost utopian community, where everything is provided for them: their own apartment with no bills, cooked meals if they want them, access to any kind of sport or hobbie they wish to pursue, safe gardens where they can wander freely, lots of other people to interact with. They can even take part in classes, and go shopping but they don’t need money as they can take whatever they want.
This world seems too perfect to be true, which it is, as Big Brother is watching them all the time. Cameras and microphones are everywhere, from the obvious ceiling cameras to the more obscure ones hidden under beds and in wardrobes. Every single moment is seen. They also have to take part in experiments, from psychological to physical, taking part in drug testing trials and fitness regimes. These all take their toll on the Dispensibles, and eventually they disappear one by one.
The story follows Dorrit and the friends she makes in the Unit and the relationships between them all. They all cope differently but are all there for each other, understanding what each other is going through. As with every dystopian story, there is always a rebel and Dorrit unexpectedly becomes one in this story. There are some interesting twists in the story as it progresses, but i won’t spoil it for anyone who wants to read it! It is gripping and i finished it within a day because i couldn’t put it down!
The novel is a translated work but it had been translated really well, and, like many Scandinavian translations i’ve read lately, is of a really good quality and the plot is fantastic! I will be keeping an eye out for titles by Holmqvist!
I give it 8/10 because it is well written and is quite a chilling dystopian tale. It is an excellent example of showing how different the world can become if something changes too drastically. It makes the reader question how society could sink to such a terrifying level that it would be willing to use older people for the good of society in such a way as is described int he novel. I thoroughly recommend this novel to lovers of dystopian fiction, such as The Handmaid’s Tale, or even 1984!
Note: I read this title on Kindle, as it was on offer on Amazon and it was worth it!