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The Unit Paperback – 9 Jun 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Other Press (NY) (9 Jun. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590513134
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590513132
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 2 x 21.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,383,434 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

Named one of the Best Novels of 2009 by the "Wall Street Journal"
Marcela Valdes, "The Washington Post"
A haunting, deadpan tale set vaguely in the Scandinavian future Holmqvist s spare prose interweaves the Unit s pleasures and cruelties with exquisite matter-of-factness [Holmqvist] turns the screw, presenting a set of events so miraculous and abominable that they literally made me gasp.
Jessa Crispin, NPR.org
Echoing work by Marge Piercy and Margaret Atwood, "The Unit "is as thought-provoking as it is compulsively readable.
"The New Yorker
" This haunting first novel imagines a nation in which men and women who haven t had children by a certain age are taken to a reserve bank unit for biological material and subjected to various physical and psychological experiments, while waiting to have their organs harvested for needed citizens in the outside world Holmqvist evocatively details the experiences of a woman who falls in love with another resident, and at least momentarily attempts to escape her fate.
"Psychiatric Services"
Eerie, chilling, yet almost plausible Holmqvist gives us a lesson in human nature and social engineering through a story that is spare, compelling, and all too human.
"TimeOut Chicago
"
Holmqvist handles her dystopia with muted, subtle care...Neither satirical nor polemical, "The Unit" manages to express a fair degree of moral outrage without ever moralizing it has enough spooks to make it a feminist, philosophical page-turner.
Tim Gebhart, Blogcritics.org
"The Unit" raises issues of love, gender, freedom, and social mores through the perspective of how we assess an individual's contribution to society Holmqvist's ability to invest the reader in both the story and the characters is exceptional. It is a book you hesitate to put down. In fact, I consumed it in the space of a couple separate sittings in less than a day the book is reminiscent of Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale." Yet to classify or judge it as a feminist work alone is unfair. It certainly surpasses Kazuo Ishiguro's widely praised "Never Let Me Go "Hopefully, the fact this is a translated work and tends to be billed as feminist literature will not adversely affect the book's ability to make it to bookstore shelves. "The Unit" deserves a wide readership.
Kelly Fitzpatrick," The Orlando Sentinel
"
This is one of the best books I ve read over the past two years...Thought-provoking and emotionally-moving, The Unit is a book you ll be discussing with others long after you re done reading it.

"Booklist"
"Chilling stunning Holmqvist s fluid, mesmerizing novel offers unnerving commentary on the way society devalues artistic creation while elevating procreation, and speculation on what it would be like if that was taken to an extreme. For Orwell and Huxley fans."

"More Magazine"
"Like Margaret Atwood s The Handmaid s Tale, this novel imagines a chilling dystopia: single, childless, midlife women are considered dispensable. At 50 the narrator, Dorrit, is taken to a facility where non-vital organs will be harvested one by one for people more valued by society; she knows that eventually she ll have to sacrifice something essential like her heart. Dorrit accepts her fate until she falls in love and finds herself breaking the rules."
Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind
Holmqvist s marvelous book doesn t browbeat her thesis into the reader and smartly expands her ideas to look at the plight of all marginalized folk, women and men alike, and how the promise of comforts can be the most horrifying of all. Prepare to be disturbed, but prepare further to think about the ramifications.
"Kirkus Reviews
"
"Pricey shops that require no money. Gardens that trump Monet s. Creature comforts galore. But Swedish ace Holmqvist s English-language debut soon discloses a catch. The shelf-life for inhabitants of this paradise is about six years. This is the Second Reserve Bank Unit, into which the State herds women 50 and up, and men 60 and over, to use for biological material. They re fattened like calves, but there s civic-duty payback: mandatory organ donation, culminating in the final gift of their lungs and hearts. Big Brother doesn t take every oldster, just those termed dispensables: the cash-strapped, underachieving or, worst of all, childless. Dorrit Weger, freelance writer, dog-lover and free sprit, is initially mesmerized by her new surroundings. She feels a sense of community, a closeness never offered by Nils, the inadequate lover who would never leave his wife. And she takes pride in being needed when she s enlisted in one of the Unit s many medical experiments. It s a benign investigation into the effects of exercise, but in the cafeteria and on the lush grounds Dorrit soon notices other campers sleepwalking like zombies or displaying weirdly blotched skin. As her roommates are ushered off one by one to their final donations, she panics into the arms of Johannes, a fellow Unit resident who actually manages to impregnate her. Dazzled by upcoming motherhood, Dorrit is certain her bulging belly will gain her freedom. Proven at last productive, she s bound to be rewarded by the State .isn t she? In her first novel, short-story writer Holmqvist echoes political-science treatises like Hobbes Leviathan and Rousseau s The Social Contract (gone decidedly mad here), as well as the usual dystopian novels from Brave New World to 1984. Orwellian horrors in a Xanadu on Xanax creepily profound and most provocative."
"
""

Named one of the Best Novels of 2009 by the Wall Street Journal
Marcela Valdes, The Washington Post

A haunting, deadpan tale set vaguely in the Scandinavian future Holmqvist s spare prose interweaves the Unit s pleasures and cruelties with exquisite matter-of-factness [Holmqvist] turns the screw, presenting a set of events so miraculous and abominable that they literally made me gasp.
Jessa Crispin, NPR.org

Echoing work by Marge Piercy and Margaret Atwood, The Unit is as thought-provoking as it is compulsively readable.
The New Yorker
This haunting first novel imagines a nation in which men and women who haven t had children by a certain age are taken to a reserve bank unit for biological material and subjected to various physical and psychological experiments, while waiting to have their organs harvested for needed citizens in the outside world Holmqvist evocatively details the experiences of a woman who falls in love with another resident, and at least momentarily attempts to escape her fate.
Psychiatric Services
Eerie, chilling, yet almost plausible Holmqvist gives us a lesson in human nature and social engineering through a story that is spare, compelling, and all too human.

TimeOut Chicago

Holmqvist handles her dystopia with muted, subtle care...Neither satirical nor polemical, The Unit manages to express a fair degree of moral outrage without ever moralizing it has enough spooks to make it a feminist, philosophical page-turner.
Tim Gebhart, Blogcritics.org
The Unit raises issues of love, gender, freedom, and social mores through the perspective of how we assess an individual's contribution to society Holmqvist's ability to invest the reader in both the story and the characters is exceptional. It is a book you hesitate to put down. In fact, I consumed it in the space of a couple separate sittings in less than a day the book is reminiscent of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. Yet to classify or judge it as a feminist work alone is unfair. It certainly surpasses Kazuo Ishiguro's widely praised Never Let Me Go Hopefully, the fact this is a translated work and tends to be billed as feminist literature will not adversely affect the book's ability to make it to bookstore shelves. The Unit deserves a wide readership.

Kelly Fitzpatrick, The Orlando Sentinel

This is one of the best books I ve read over the past two years...Thought-provoking and emotionally-moving, The Unit is a book you ll be discussing with others long after you re done reading it.

Booklist
"Chilling stunning Holmqvist s fluid, mesmerizing novel offers unnerving commentary on the way society devalues artistic creation while elevating procreation, and speculation on what it would be like if that was taken to an extreme. For Orwell and Huxley fans."

More Magazine
"Like Margaret Atwood s The Handmaid s Tale, this novel imagines a chilling dystopia: single, childless, midlife women are considered dispensable. At 50 the narrator, Dorrit, is taken to a facility where non-vital organs will be harvested one by one for people more valued by society; she knows that eventually she ll have to sacrifice something essential like her heart. Dorrit accepts her fate until she falls in love and finds herself breaking the rules."
Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind

Holmqvist s marvelous book doesn t browbeat her thesis into the reader and smartly expands her ideas to look at the plight of all marginalized folk, women and men alike, and how the promise of comforts can be the most horrifying of all. Prepare to be disturbed, but prepare further to think about the ramifications.
Kirkus Reviews

"Pricey shops that require no money. Gardens that trump Monet s. Creature comforts galore. But Swedish ace Holmqvist s English-language debut soon discloses a catch. The shelf-life for inhabitants of this paradise is about six years. This is the Second Reserve Bank Unit, into which the State herds women 50 and up, and men 60 and over, to use for biological material. They re fattened like calves, but there s civic-duty payback: mandatory organ donation, culminating in the final gift of their lungs and hearts. Big Brother doesn t take every oldster, just those termed dispensables: the cash-strapped, underachieving or, worst of all, childless. Dorrit Weger, freelance writer, dog-lover and free sprit, is initially mesmerized by her new surroundings. She feels a sense of community, a closeness never offered by Nils, the inadequate lover who would never leave his wife. And she takes pride in being needed when she s enlisted in one of the Unit s many medical experiments. It s a benign investigation into the effects of exercise, but in the cafeteria and on the lush grounds Dorrit soon notices other campers sleepwalking like zombies or displaying weirdly blotched skin. As her roommates are ushered off one by one to their final donations, she panics into the arms of Johannes, a fellow Unit resident who actually manages to impregnate her. Dazzled by upcoming motherhood, Dorrit is certain her bulging belly will gain her freedom. Proven at last productive, she s bound to be rewarded by the State .isn t she? In her first novel, short-story writer Holmqvist echoes political-science treatises like Hobbes Leviathan and Rousseau s The Social Contract (gone decidedly mad here), as well as the usual dystopian novels from Brave New World to 1984. Orwellian horrors in a Xanadu on Xanax creepily profound and most provocative."

"

Named one of the Best Novels of the Year by the Wall Street Journal

"Echoing work by Marge Piercy and Margaret Atwood, The Unit is as thought-provoking as it is compulsively readable." --Jessa Crispin, author of Why I Am Not a Feminist

"A haunting, deadpan tale set vaguely in the Scandinavian future...Holmqvist's spare prose interweaves the Unit's pleasures and cruelties with exquisite matter-of-factness...[Holmqvist] turns the screw, presenting a set of events so miraculous and abominable that they literally made me gasp." --The Washington Post

"This haunting first novel imagines a nation in which men and women who haven't had children by a certain age are taken to a "reserve bank unit for biological material" and subjected to various physical and psychological experiments, while waiting to have their organs harvested for "needed" citizens in the outside world... Holmqvist evocatively details the experiences of a woman who falls in love with another resident, and at least momentarily attempts to escape her fate." --The New Yorker

"Holmqvist handles her dystopia with muted, subtle care...Neither satirical nor polemical, The Unit manages to express a fair degree of moral outrage without ever moralizing...it has enough spooks to make it a feminist, philosophical page-turner." --TimeOut Chicago

"This is one of the best books I've read over the past two years...Thought-provoking and emotionally-moving, The Unit is a book you'll be discussing with others long after you're done reading it." --Orlando Sentinel

"Chilling...stunning...Holmqvist's fluid, mesmerizing novel offers unnerving commentary on the way society devalues artistic creation while elevating procreation, and speculation on what it would be like if that was taken to an extreme. For Orwell and Huxley fans." --Booklist

"Like Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, this novel imagines a chilling dystopia: single, childless, midlife women are considered dispensable. At 50 the narrator, Dorrit, is taken to a facility where non-vital organs will be harvested one by one for people more valued by society; she knows that eventually she'll have to sacrifice something essential' like her heart. Dorrit accepts her fate-until she falls in love and finds herself breaking the rules." --More Magazine

Review

"What a striking, remarkable book -- one of the best I've read in a long time."

(Frank Huyler)

"A stunning debut that deserves to become an instant classic."

(Elizabeth Baines - author of 'Balancing on the Edge of the World' and 'Too Many Magpies') --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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