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The Midnight Library by Matt Haig @matthaig1 @canongatebooks #theclqrt #TheMidnightLibrary #MattHaig #BookReview #RecommendedReads #bookblogger #contemporaryfiction

Canongate Books August 2020

Book Description

Between Life and Death there is a Library

When Nora Seed finds herself in the Midnight Library, she has a chance to make things right. Up until now, her life has been full of misery and regret. She feels she has let everyone down, including herself. But things are about to change.

The books in the Midnight Library enable Nora to live as if she had done things differently. With the help of an old friend, she can now undo every one of her regrets as she tries to work out her perfect life. But things aren’t always what she imagined they’d be, and soon her choices place the library and herself in extreme danger.

Before time runs out, she must answer the ultimate question: what is the best way to live?

My Thoughts

I purchased this book, a stunning slipcased edition from Goldsboro Books around publication day, amid all the excitement of a new Matt Haig novel! A couple of months later, not without some trepidation I picked it up to read. Why trepidation I hear you ask? The premise was something I was nervous about, parallel worlds, a Midnight Library as a purgatory where you can explore all of your other lives, the what ifs and the regrets. Truthfully this reluctance didn’t make sense, I was a huge fan of Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter (review here), although I did find The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle a tad confusing (review here). But there is something about ‘sci fi’ that I find off putting and just the notion of parallel worlds was enough to create a resistance that I needed to overcome.

And I did overcome my resistance, not least because the slip case edition I have of this book is so beautiful I had to keep getting it out to look at, and of course that tempted me to read on. And actually this was a very accessible story, not confusing in the slightest and it felt like an important read as Nora, depressed and alone in her life attempted suicide and found herself in the Midnight Library, considering what could have been.

The story itself is rather simple, Nora reaches a point in her life, without a job or a purpose, friendless and very much alone, she sees no point in living and decides to end it all. Unexpectedly for her things don’t go to plan and alongside Nora we see the choices she didn’t make, the roads she didn’t take. The story is enjoyable the what could’ve beens’ were entertaining and I found myself wondering about my, ‘other lives’, but the messages within give the story it’s strength. For this is a story about depression and suicide, but also about life’s ups and downs and trying to think about what is important, really important and the message from this book was clear.

This was about kindness, the differences we can make in others lives, the small things we do that can have a huge impact for years to come. The story explores the potential successes and how we quantify them, but how perhaps the things that really make a diference are the little things we do and how we are, we need to recognise the highs and lows, but throughout it all, by being kind we can perhaps live our best life and it is this that may carry us through the tougher times.

A lovely piece of fiction with some important and thought provoking themes, this has a broad ranging appeal and will be enjoyed and appreciated by many. I did suggest to my 16 year old son that he could read it – he declined as he does with most books I suggest, but it would have been suitable.

Have you read The Midnight Library yet? What did you think, or are you planning to read it?

About the Author

Matt Haig is the number one bestselling author of Reasons to Stay Alive and Notes on a Nervous Planet and six highly acclaimed novels for adults, including How to Stop Time, The Humans and The Radleys. The audiobook of The Midnight Library is read by Carey Mulligan.

Matt also writes award – winning books for children, including A Boy Called Christmas, which is being made into a film starring Maggie Smith, Sally Hawkins, Jim Broadbent and Kristen Wiig. He has sold more than a million books in the UK and his work has been translated into over forty languages.

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