When Dorrit Weger enters the Second Reserve Bank Unit, she knows she’s there to stay; not by choice, mind you. She’s hit that magical age where, without children and loved ones in need of her, she’s become what has been considered “dispensable”. While it’s true the dwelling is luxurious beyond what she’s ever obtained for herself, and while she’ll be surrounded by contemporaries who are also without spouses and children on the outside, she and those residing with her are to serve a purpose none of them care to serve. As dispensable people they will be used for things such as drug testing and organ donation until their lives come to an end. And life is short inside The Unit. But somehow Dorrit manages to build relationships unlike any she ever had in the outside world.
The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist, translated from the original Swedish by Marlaine Delargy, is set in the not-so-distant future and told in the voice of a true story weaver, making this author’s first novel eerily plausible. Holmqvist leaves her readers pondering the conditions of modern society, balancing what is truly the value of life, and perhaps questioning whether one person deserves to live more than another. If you have a book club hungry for deep discussion and some serious introspection, as well as a glimpse at the possible future, The Unit is the next book to get your hands on.
While The Unit is Ninni Holmqvist’s debut novel, this Swedish author has previously published three short story collections. The English translation of The Unit is published by Other Press and was released in June of this year.