Title: The Unit
Author: Ninni Holmqvist
Genre: Science Fiction, Literary Fiction
When my book club chose The Unit for our December read, I was excited. I’d heard some things about this book and was really intrigued to try it. I’m glad to say that it didn’t disappoint at all! First, The Unit was incredibly well written, and the translation was wonderful. The book was hard to read at times because of the subject matter, but it is not a difficult book. It brings up a lot of ethical questions that are great to discuss in a book club setting. It’s a great piece of dystopian fiction and I highly recommend it!
Author: Justine Larbalestier
Like many people, I first heard about Liar during the cover controversy – the publisher had chosen to put a young Caucasian girl on the cover, when the protagonist of the novel is clearly black. Luckily, they changed it, and it got the book a lot of free publicity! I have to say, I don’t know what to think about Liar. The entire premise of the book is that the main character, Micah, is a compulsive liar. Therefore, you can’t trust anything she says in the book – it’s up to the reader to figure out what’s true and what’s not. Though the book was incredibly well-written, I didn’t love reading it. It ended with too much ambiguity.
Title: The Passport
Author: Herta Muller
Genre: Literary Fiction
Herta Muller won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2009, and since then, I’ve really been wanting to read her work. The Passport is a look at Romania during the reign of the dictator Ceausescu. Some basic background on the period is definitely helpful for understanding what’s going on in the book – at only 96 pages, there isn’t a lot of explanation in this novella. It’s simply written but difficult to break apart the words in order to understand what Muller is saying. This is a beautifully written and stark book, but it takes some thought and effort. I would probably have been better off starting with another Muller book, but I’m glad I read this one.