The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Genre: Science fiction, fantasy fiction

Published: 2020

No. of Pages: 295

As you know, 2020 has been a crazy, unpredictable, and chaotic year. A lot of challenges have been thrown our way and we have been dealing as best we can. However, sometimes it would be nice to escape from those unfamiliar moments for a while. This is exactly what Matt Haig’s latest novel The Midnight Library offers – escapism. 

As someone who has been open about his mental health journey and is vividly aware of how dark, yet enriching life can be, Haig brings an empathetic stance to the novel. 

The Midnight Library begins with a depressed Nora Seed, unable to see any shred of hope for her future. In a tragic attempt to take her own life, Nora finds herself in a weird void between life and death. Here, she is presented with an infinite number of possible lives she could have lived, and is faced with the perplexing question – what is the best way to live? Quickly, an exciting, inspiring and hopeful adventure unravels. 

Haig’s unique storyline introduces quantum physics and the theory of the multiuniverse, where a new universe manifests from each choice. Since Haig does not delve too deeply into the science of the theory, the novel remains easy to follow and he successfully creates intrigue. Where Nora has the opportunity to jump into any life of her imagination, the novel becomes a book about second chances and leaving small or deeply entrenched regrets behind. 

I loved Haig’s philosophical nuances which compliment the overarching theme of physics. Nora is a philosophy graduate, and her love for the subject is evident – in many of her lives. The novel has an array of wisely chosen Henry David Thoreau quotes as they serve to challenge Nora’s growth and perspective of life. 

Aside from Nora, the accompanying characters are thoughtful, and each provide their individual touch. The novel is written with a beautiful, elegant prose which effortlessly flows, with chapters varying from just a few lines to twenty pages. Haig’s writing style became addictive – he perfectly balances reality with fantasy, the possible with the impossible – and I finished the book in just three days. 

Whilst reading The Midnight Library, I noticed that it possessed a similar undertone to Haig’s 2015 novel Reasons to Stay Alive in terms of depicting life and one’s outlook on it. Ultimately, both novels convey the same message; that there is beauty in life and life is worth living.

The Midnight Library is truly a magical read, and I think, at least for me, it is one of those books that will stay with me for a very, very long time. 

Purchase here on Amazon:

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