I’m reading The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist, translated by Marlaine Delargy

Unit I am totally absorbed in The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist, which has very kindly been sent to me by the translator, Marlaine Delargy. I've read good things about this book on various blogs, and on Amazon, so I was quite keen to try it, even though I was not sure if it was going to be science fiction or crime fiction. It is an appealing mix of both, written with an effortless style (I am sure, due in no small part to the faultless translation) that just keeps you reading.
Assuming the book could be classified as crime fiction, I'll write a review and submit it to Euro Crime, so will not say more about the book here. I will, however, reproduce a short passage from the opening page:

Even the bathroom was monitored. There were no fewer than three cameras within that small space, two on the ceiling and one underneath the washbasin. This meticulous surveillance applied not only to the private apartments, but also to the communal areas. And of course nothing less was to be expected. It was not the intention that those who lived here should be able to take their own lives or harm themselves in some other way. Not once you were here. You should have sorted that out beforehand, if you were thinking along those lines.
I was, for a while. I thought about hanging myself or jumping in front of a speeding train or doing a U-turn on the highway and driving toward the oncoming traffic at full speed. Or simply driving off the road. But I didn't have the courage. Instead I just obediently allowed myself to be picked up at the agreed time outside my house.

The book is published by the Other Press, New York, and the translation was supported by a grant from the Swedish Arts Council.

Review of The Unit at Kittling: Books.

Review of The Unit at The Complete Review.

Q&A with the author and other reviews at Amazon (US site).

5 thoughts on “I’m reading The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist, translated by Marlaine Delargy

  1. Maxine,
    I am so glad you have got around to reading
    The Unit,and are enjoying it.It was one of my books of the year.
    However–I cannot see that it is any way a crime novel.
    It certainly poses many moral questions-but in the society portrayed -no crime.
    Best Wishes

  2. Blogger seems to have gone down completely today.
    So where does one go with one´s withdrawal symptoms? To wise friends who don´t use Blogger 😀

  3. Great with a shelter for the homeless!
    I thought Blogger was okay now, but I just tried to comment on Margot´s blog twice!

  4. You are always welcome here, Dorte and Norman. Unfortunately, like Blogger, I was “down” yesterday, overcome by a cold/sinus infection. But, glad you found a home even though I was not here!
    Simon – thanks. I completely agree it isn’t a “crime” novel, but I think it raises some questions that could justify a review on Euro Crime – I’ll see what Karen thinks. And thanks for the rest of your comment – I’ve now finished the book and agree it is excellent, and hauntingly poignant – superbly written and translated.

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