The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig
Published by Canongate Books, 4th February 2021
Genres: Fantasy, contemporary fiction
Source: Purchased (new)
Trigger warnings: suicide, bereavement
Nora Seed is miserable. She just lost her job, she is estranged from her brother, her mother passed away recently, she gave up on her dreams, she ended her engagement just days before her wedding. And her cat just got killed by a car. Life doesn’t seem worth living, so she decides to end it.
But instead of dying, Nora ends up in the Midnight Library. In this library between life and death, the shelves go on forever and they are all filled with books. Each book represents a different life she might have lived, had she made different choices. With the help of the librarian, she must now try to find what makes a life worth living, and discover what that life might look like.
I really loved the premise of this book. Just imagine being able to visit a parallel universe and live a life you might have lived, even just for a little while! What choices could you have made differently? Or what would your life look like now if you had done this or that at a certain point in your life?
Nora discovers that she is not the only person that this has happened to. But she learns that the Midnight Library is different for everyone. In fact, it is not always a library. I loved the idea that it could be different based on what that person was interested in, or what they felt was a safe space for them. A video rental shop for instance. Or an art gallery.
Although I really enjoyed this book, I did struggle with one aspect. Every time Nora enters a new life, she is completely ignorant of everything that went before. She doesn’t know who anyone is, or what she does in that life, not even where she lives or which members of her family are still alive. This leads to some very awkward interactions and it just made me feel very anxious. It made me cringe just imagining it!
Overall though, I really loved this book and I’m glad that it lived up to all the hype it was getting everywhere I looked.
My rating: 4/5