02 September 2020

Review: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig book cover
* Copy courtesy of Allen & Unwin *

After deciding she doesn't want to live anymore, Nora Seed finds herself in the midnight library of the title. Here, she meets a librarian who explains that the library is the place between life and death. The vast bookshelves extend as far as the eye can see and each book represents a different life she's led.

Nora has many regrets in her present (or root) life and she now has the freedom to choose from the infinite number of books before her. By exploring the different books/lives, Nora has the opportunity to discover what her life would be like (at this present age) had she made different choices.

Throughout this process, Nora arrives at certain realisations about life, relationships, choices, regrets, happiness, love, success, ambition and more. I particularly enjoyed Nora's love (and sometimes study) of philosophy that pops up throughout the book in some form or another.

Matt Haig does a wonderful job explaining parallel lives in an easy to understand manner and I believe this book would be a great choice for book clubs who enjoy engaging in existential discussions.

These ideas have already been explored in books and movies before, however I believe Haig takes it a few steps further and is uniquely qualified to do so. In his memoir Reasons To Stay Alive, Matt Haig openly shared his struggles with severe depression and panic disorders. I believe The Midnight Library is a manifestation of his personal journey and an attempt to help others as well as provide much for readers to contemplate.

Reading The Midnight Library also reminded me a little of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho in that both characters are searching for a meaningful and fulfilling life with the assistance of a guide/librarian and the reader benefits from their exploration and subsequent realisations.

Just as in How To Stop Time, The Midnight Library is a combination of genres and could easily be defined as fantasy or science fiction while remaining rooted in the contemporary world we all know.

I thoroughly enjoyed this heartwarming book.

Carpe Librum!
My Rating:

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  1. I wish I’d requested this one but my schedule was too full and I was trying to be responsible:) Great review.

    1. Thanks Shelleyrae, I can totally relate to the demanding reviewing schedule. There are sooooo many great books coming out in September!


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