If ever a book could be categorized as a balm for the soul, one such tome would be The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. I wholeheartedly agree with the rave reviews that speak to this novel’s stirring, meaningful impact. In a concise and expressively written narrative, Matt Haig serves up a universal message of hope— for when all you see in front of you is despair.
In short: this is an incredibly touching and beautifully written novel I’d recommend to readers of nearly all genres. The Midnight Library is Literary Fiction with a dash of Fantasy, a helping of Speculative with a sprinkling of lyrical prose, and a healthy dose of Magical Realism. I think the thematic overlap within this novel will appeal to many readers across genre preferences.
As Nora explores the alternate realities made possible by her unexpected visit to the eponymous Midnight Library, we see a longing for life emerge in her anew. I felt the same pain, sadness, and disappointment Nora felt as the events unfolded! Watching her grapple with the truths surrounding the alternate versions of herself was compelling, poignant, and delightful the whole way through.
Now, as much I loved this book, I have mixed feelings about the ending. While the end of Nora’s journey back to her root life is thought-provoking and the perfect fit for her story, I can’t help but wish there was a bit more certainty about it all. But actually, perhaps that’s the point— you end this book knowing that the only way forward is forward anyway, so don’t worry too much about what you don’t know or can’t control. Just do your best.
Content warnings: suicide, depression, loss of a pet, loss of loved ones
Where to find The Midnight Library
Publication Date: September 29, 2020