Friday, June 16, 2017

Fiction Friday (52)

With the year half-over, I've pretty much scrapped my plan to have read a lot more books than I did last year. Well, not exactly true. It's just that the majority of books I'm reading these days are picture books with my daughter. I hope to review some more of those soon. I've also been reading a ridiculous amount of academic articles. All of which limits my time to read the novels I so much want to consume. Slowly but surely though, I am making my way through books and today I'm sharing my most recent read, an interesting dystopian novel that is all too plausible to be dismissed. Enjoy.

The Unit by Ninni Homqvist
(Other Press, 2009)

This was one of those books that I expected to be far more intense than it turned out to be. 'The Unit' is nothing like Margaret Atwood's dystopian visions, as I had hoped, and has a limited scope to its view of the future. However, it's able to find power in the subtlety of the prose and narrowness of its vision.

Set some time in a possible near future version of Scandinavia, people who have not managed to have children, or partners, have been deemed dispensable because they are "not needed" and have not contributed to the continuation of society. Many of them are artists, outsiders, or recluses, or just homely people. They are not bad people, not evil, just essentially unlucky in love and life. At a certain age, they are sent to The Unit where they are to live the remainder of their lives in comfort, but also subject to medical experiments and forced organ donation until such a time where they either choose, or are selected, to make their final donation of vital organs. While this sounds horrific, it isn't presented as such, which is where the book succeeds in making the reader think.

People in the Unit accept their fate. They may not be pleased with it, but they accept it as it was a policy voted on in a democracy. We see this happening in democracies all of the time, where one segment of a population is valued more than another and one set of values is deemed more appropriate than another. Unique circumstances cause the main character to realize the true horror and unfairness of her situation, and cause the reader to comprehend the disturbing nature of the book. 

No comments:

Post a Comment