Book Review: The Midnight Library

I read this book in two days! Two days! Ok, that isn’t the record (I’ve read books in an hour or two before now), but still. I think that’s pretty good.

Yes, I really loved Matt Haig’s ‘The Midnight Library’. It was easy to dip into, and I devoured it within no time at all.

Synopsis

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.

Book Review

Nora Seed is at the end of her rope. Her cat’s dead, her job’s caput, and any friends or family she does have are either too far away or seemingly despise her for the mistakes of the past. She doesn’t know which way to turn, so she decides to end it all.

And so, the Library appears, and an old friend to guide the way. For Nora has been given a second chance. Or several chances in fact. All she has to do is find a life she feels is the right one, and she’ll fall into it and live. The only thing is, what life to choose? What is the right path? And truly, what is the meaning of life in the first place?

I really loved this book. I love all the books I’ve read by Matt Haig, and this one didn’t disappoint. I was a bit thrown at the beginning, when the main character attempts to kill herself, but at the moment the Library appeared I was hooked. For who hasn’t wondered what might have happened if they’d chosen a different course? Stuck with a hobby, or taken a chance on a whim? Nora Seed is offered the dream – the opportunity to try out these other lives that she could have lived, and we are thrown in there with her as she wakes up to each one.

Ok, so we don’t go through all her lives – that would take more than one book for sure, but we do get a proper glimpse at a few of her lives, and it’s fascinating to watch her discover how, actually, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Given to her are the options to become a pop star, to marry her ex, to become an Olympic Swimmer like her dad always wanted her to be. 

But Nora discovers she’s still suffering in all of her lives, still dealing with the same anxieties and depression, and as she goes deeper into each life, she begins to unravel her regrets.

“The only way to learn is to live.”

I liked the fact that there was some philosophy thrown into the mix, even if there weren’t a lot of deep descriptions. This was easy to read and not overly complicated, despite the subject matter of alternate universes and other lives. I suppose I would have liked more descriptions, but I didn’t feel they were necessary to follow the story along.

Overall, it was a really lovely little book, and a must read, in my view, for everyone. I give it four out of five stars.

Kate @ Kandid Chronicles x


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