The Midnight Library – Review

Author – Matt Haig
Pages – 288

A thought provoking, life affirming read that some readers won’t realise they desperately needed until they complete it – beautifully put together.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig is a book I may find myself coming back to again and again. It’s one I encourage anyone to read, especially if you’re carrying regrets, uncertain of the path your life is taking or feeling like an underachiever.

It’s got a comfort read quality to it, despite feeling incredibly bleak and tragic at times – it’s through this that the light is able to shine through brighter.

The story starts with the protagonist Nora, utterly fed up with her life, feeling a failure, a hindrance to others, like the joy has been sapped out of her existence – she decides she’d rather not be alive anymore and (off-page) attempts suicide.

The majority takes place in a realm within her mind, between life and death: The Midnight Library. Here there are thousands of books, each telling the story of an alternate reality, a parallel universe. In one of them, Nora doesn’t give up her promising swimming career. In another, she studies to become a glaciologist as she had planned as a child. In another, she doesn’t break up with her fiancé.

The first book she opens is the seemingly indefinitely paged book of regrets which prompts her to open these other books and live these other lives; once she starts reading she becomes the Nora living in that life. And she’s welcome to stay there – so long as she doesn’t begin feeling disappointed or disillusioned with it.

It’s a book about the butterfly effect and about happiness, about the subtle things in life we don’t notice and the way we perceive success, our own value, our self worth.

Despite some melancholy and a look at the grim reality of life, Matt Haig presents a case for hope, an appreciation of our lives and an uplifting, magical tale that is a really beautiful read. I found myself almost well up at the end (something I never do) and sat on the bed in silence for a couple of minutes, thinking.

I feel like The Midnight Library is a book many people don’t even realise they need to read, but will be so glad they did.

Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices . . . Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?”

A dazzling novel about all the choices that go into a life well lived, from the internationally bestselling author of Reasons to Stay Alive and How To Stop Time.

Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?

In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s enchanting new novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.


5 thoughts on “The Midnight Library – Review

  1. Great review. I never really knew what this book was about; I just saw that many people had it on their TBRs. I personally am not a fan of “the life I could have lived” plot, but I feel like it’s one that needs to be executed with a lot of nuance to be done well. I’m glad to hear this was a good example of that.

    Liked by 1 person

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