2021 Reviews · Audible · contemporary fiction

Book Review: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Title: The Midnight Library

Author: Matt Haig

Published: September 1st 2020

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Pages: 304

Genres: Fiction, Contemporary

RRP: $29.99

Rating: 5 stars

The touching, funny and heartwarming new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author of How to Stop Time and Reasons to Stay Alive.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?

Review:

A book about the fundamental questions in life, The Midnight Library is a 2020 release from number one bestselling author Matt Haig. Thought provoking, heartbreaking, connective and remarkable, I loved every minute of this story, which marks my first experience of Matt Haig’s soulful writing.

In The Midnight Library Matt Haig presents a strange existence where his lead character falters between life and death at a library. This unique library is a place that houses an infinite number of books and shelves. Each book in this mystical library represents a life that can be sampled and one that was considered but never tried. The Midnight Library considers the weight of the choices we make in life, the possibility of living an alternative life path and amending any past mistakes. With an abundant supply of books and shelves, this special library offers an alternative universe of sorts. With questions looming in regards to personal choice, present existence, past decisions, second chances and hope, The Midnight Library carefully considers these vital life questions. In Matt Haig’s new novel, the central protagonist considers a plethora of pathways, choices, decisions, alternative realities and fulfilment. Above all, The Midnight Library is about the value of life itself, can we continue to live when we are unhappy?

Matt Haig is a popular and well-known author around the world. Haig has penned books for both an adult and young audience throughout his career. In The Midnight Library Haig takes a philosophical path as he considers a series of big picture questions in relation to a woman floating between life and death. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this one as I am not generally a fan of fantasy or alternative reality books, but I urge any reader with the slightest interest in this book to give it a go.

I was lucky to listen to The Midnight Library via Audible. Narrated by British actress Carey Mulligan, I have to say that Matt Haig’s 2020 release is one of the best audio books I have encountered. Mulligan’s voice perfectly suited the main character of Nora Seed. I could actually picture Mulligan in the title role of The Midnight Library if it is transferred to a film adaption. This novel had a Nick Hornby vibe to it and I appreciated it very much. I was pleased I finally got to this author’s work. I will be making an effort at some stage down the track to catch up on Haig’s previous adult fiction releases.

The Midnight Library features some fantastic world building and I loved the alternative realties presented in this book. I also relished the vivid presentation of the library featured in this story, it was a truly sensational read. I really appreciated the intent and message of this novel in terms of life choices. The Midnight Library was such a thought provoking read that I wish that I could bring this one to my book club, it certainly raises may questions. With themes of regret, doubt, fate, relationships, careers, mental health, motherhood, parenting, hope, aspirations, personal goals, family love, romance, the past and education all thrown together, Matt Haig’s book is a generous tale. For me, what really resonated was the the decision to live or die, especially in regards to the mark you leave on others. At times heartbreaking and sad, but also uplifting, I think this book is good for the soul. Although fantasy is a genre I avoid, I was able to cast my reading preferences aside for this one, as I enjoyed the use of the library, books and characters pertinent to this book’s eventful journey.

With fabulous characters that I hope to encounter again in a film version of this title, The Midnight Library is a compassionate and paradoxical tale that I really loved. I found myself wanting to keep a record of the meaningful and touching quotes included in this text, as many touched me. I highly recommend The Midnight Library, it was fantastic.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig was published on 1st September 2020 by Allen & Unwin. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of The Midnight Library, Matt Haig, visit here.

5 thoughts on “Book Review: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

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