The Unit

By Ninni Holmqvist; Marlaine Delargy (Translator)
(Other Press (NY), Paperback, 9781590513132, 268pp.)

Publication Date: June 9, 2009

List Price: $14.95*
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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the Fall '09/Winter '10 Reading Group List
“A taut, creepy, yet thought-provoking page-turner, The Unit is a meditation on the consequences of complacency, the value of human life, and what we're prepared to give up for security and comfort. Beautifully written, it will keep you guessing until the last, surprising page.”
-- Molly Young, Orinda Books, Orinda, CA


Description

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 fifty and men over sixty–single, childless, and without jobs in progressive industries–are sequestered for their final few years; they are considered outsiders. In the Unit they are expected to contribute themselves for drug and psychological testing, and ultimately donate their organs, little by little, until the final donation. Despite the ruthless nature of this practice, the ethos of this near-future society and the Unit is to take care of others, and Dorrit finds herself living under very pleasant conditions: well-housed, well-fed, and well-attended. She is resigned to her fate and discovers her days there to be rather consoling and peaceful. But when she meets a man inside the Unit and falls in love, the extraordinary becomes a reality and life suddenly turns unbearable. Dorrit is faced with compliance or escape, and…well, then what?

THE UNIT is a gripping exploration of a society in the throes of an experiment, in which the “dispensable” ones are convinced under gentle coercion of the importance of sacrificing for the “necessary” ones. Ninni Holmqvist has created a debut novel of humor, sorrow, and rage about love, the close bonds of friendship, and about a cynical, utilitarian way of thinking disguised as care.




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Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. Dorrit can be described as very obedient. She submits to her fate by going to The Unit without protest and does not seem naturally inclined to buck authority. What personality traits or life circumstances do you think causes a person to be obedient? Conversely, what leads one to question the rules of the establishment? Are you the type to question or accept the status quo? What do you think makes you that way?

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