Monday, 31 August 2009

Dystopian Novel

Finished August 28
The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist, translated by Marlaine Dalargy
This Swedish novel takes place in a society where productivity is paramount. Women over 50 and men over 60 who are childless and not in "progressive industries" are sent to the Unit. They have comfortable accommodation, plenty to eat, and state of the art amenities, and take part in drug and psychological testing. They also gradually donate their organs until the "final donation". They cannot contact anyone outside the Unit, although they have access to current television and media. The book follows Dorrit Weger as she enters the Unit following her 50th birthday. We watch as she makes new friends, continues to write books and adjust to her new reality. This is an exploration of psychological reactions under specific conditions, and explores the idea of who is valuable (needed) and who is dispensable in society. The subject matter is difficult, but it is handled well, and the character of Dorrit is deeply described. I highly recommend it.

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