'The Midnight Library' by Matt Haig. Twitter
For those of us who regard libraries as “little shelters of civilisation,” it seems somehow fitting that a library is the place you’ll be sent between life and death if you get the chance to experience how your time on earth would have turned out if you had done things differently.
For Nora Seed, the protagonist of Matt Haig’s warm-hearted magical realism tale, her fate cauldron is the Midnight Library.
It’s a place where she can undo every one of the regrets that drove this young woman to the point of believing that suicide was the only way out of her “disaster” of a life in Bedford, a town that is “a conveyor belt of despair.”
As Nora gets to experience dozens of her own alternative lives — including ones in which she becomes a famous pop star, a geoscientist researching the impact of climate change on glaciers and an Olympic swimming champion — Haig takes us all on a journey that combines quantum physics, philosophy and the tricky terrain of the human heart.
"The Midnight Library" is full of insights into the way we all sometimes misunderstand negative, toxic family memories.
"The Midnight Library" also has pertinent things to say about the draining effects of modern life, of being overloaded with social media non-friend friends (“scrolling through other people’s happy lives”) and always “thinking of yourself only in terms of the things that you aren’t.”
Haig is one of the most inspirational popular writers on mental health of our age and, in his latest novel, he has taken a clever, engaging concept and created a heart-warming story that offers wisdom in the same deceptively simple way as Mitch Albom’s best tales.
Once you pick up "The Midnight Library" you will get caught up in what Nora chooses to do about her fate and you will surely find yourself reflecting about how hard it is for any of us to accept ourselves completely.
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