The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist

The Unit

Ninni Holmqvist

This sleek and steady Scandinavian novel slowly builds the tension as it unveils a future that seems terrifyingly believable – a world where older people are dispensable and human organs are harvested for more deserving folk. The fact that there are no real villains makes it all the more frightening - everyone involved is just doing their job. There are occasional moments of lightness, but this is mostly a disturbing and hauntingly moving story.

Extract

'And in a few weeks,' she went on, 'I'm going in to donate my pancreas to a student nurse with four kids. So I guess this will be my last welcome party.'
She was moving her spoon around in her dessert, a distracted movement, it seemed to me - as if she didn't mind, as if it didn't bother her, as if it were completely okay. All of a sudden I felt completely powerless. Majken stirred and stirred with her spoon and I followed her hand and the spoon with my eyes, and with every rotation it felt as if the air in the big room were becoming thinner and more difficult to breathe.

Parallels
  • The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro