The Musician’s Daughter

by Susanne Dunlap

{ 2008 | Bloomsbury | 336 pgs }

Do you want to read a pro-Gypsies book set in 18th-century Vienna? If so, here it is. Bonus: 18th-century feminism! Was that a thing?

I’m not convinced that it was, but the narrator, 15-year-old Theresa, wants to play the violin in Haydn’s orchestra, not marry and have her accomplishments confined to the home. She wants to be free to choose her own destiny! (This sounds slightly out of place for the setting, right? Not just me?)

The plot is decent, but political, and I’m sure there’s some modern-day message I was meant to glean from the “Gypsies are people too” slant. Maybe the point was that we’re still prejudiced today! Against Gypsies and women!

Life is short. Skip this book.

If you really want to, buy The Musician’s Daughter on Amazon.

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The Unit

by Ninni Holmqvist; translated by Marlaine Delargy

{ 2008 | Other | 272 pgs }

In this dystopian novel, any member of society who fails to make minimum contributions to society – in the form of having children or a partner who needs them – is considered “dispensable” and taken to a biological reserve bank at age 50 for women, age 60 for men. There they are subjects for research or donors for people who are “necessary.” The story follows Dorrit as she enters the unit and tries to make sense of (the end of) her life.

It was well written, and I liked the premise, but overall The Unit was too similar to Never Let Me Go, which I read first and therefore liked more. Still, The Unit was a quick, easy read, and not a bad book at all to pick up if you’re bored.

Buy The Unit on Amazon