Synopsis (from Amazon)
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.
I think I’m going to find it difficult to say much about this book without spoilers, but I shall try my best.
The premise of this book was pretty great but it was somewhat let down by the characters. I just didn’t feel attached to the at all. I felt sympathy for them but in the same sort of way as you may feel sorry for someone who is on the news. You can imagine what it could be like if it happened to you but you have no real attachment to the person it is happening to which lessens your reaction.
There was only one point when I really felt an emotional attachment, when they tried to tale something away from Dorrit (I won’t say more to save from spoilers). I don’t think this was because I felt I knew Dorrit though so much as because it seemed like a more plausible situation.