by Matt Haig
Narrator: Carey Mulligan
Length: 8 hours and 50 minutes
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Narration: 5 cups Speed: 1.4x
"Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices... Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?"
A dazzling novel about all the choices that go into a life well lived, from the internationally best-selling author of Reasons to Stay Alive and How to Stop Time.
Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?
In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig's enchanting new novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist, she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.
As many of you know a book with a library speaks to me. When presented with a chance to review The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, narrated by Carey Mulligan, I grabbed my earbuds and dove in.
What transpired was a magical story about Nora Seed. Nora’s life hasn’t quite turned out the way she expected, and a series of events lead to suicide. When she awakens, she finds herself in a library with rows and rows of books. Mrs. Elm, her school librarian and mentor the librarian .
The tale that unfolds is magical, insightful, and pure genius. If you are a fool for It’s A Wonderful Life and watch it every Christmas like me, you will love Haig’s meaningful tale.
The library books contain all of Nora’s alternate lives. Every decision made is a new version of a life Nora would have lived. With Mrs. Elm’s guidance, Nora opens books and dives into these alternate life. Sort of trying them on for size. This isn’t always easy particularly because Nora remembers her “root life” but knows nothing of these new lives.
Do you remember wanting to grow up to be a doctor, the first woman on the moon, an explorer who travels Antarctica? Well, Nora get’s to explore all of hers. She owns a pub, becomes a gold medalist, a rock star, a philosopher, a traveler, a glaciologist, wife and mother. Each has its pros and cons. For example, in some timelines her best friend has died or her brother is ill.
Through the books, Nora gains knowledge and appreciation for the seemly pointless life she had. I loved Haig’s writing. His writing is poignant, empathetic and inspiring. It is as if he’s walked in these character’s footsteps.
Carey Mulligan narrates and was the perfect pick for Nora’s perspective. The story flowed wonderfully and she enhanced an already brilliant story through inflection, pacing and tone.
Whether you listen or read, I hope you add The Midnight Library to your collection. It would also make the perfect holiday gift for everyone on your list.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I want to read/listen to all of his books.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
Awesome review Kimberly. I have just gotten to the top of the list for the audiobook from my library and I am excited to put my earbuds on and listen to this one. I also love books about books, libraries or bookstores so I am all in. Good to see the speed you selected.
Yay. I hope you love it!
Laura @ Library of Clean Reads
Yes, A definite read for me! The fact that you loved it makes me want to read it more.
I cannot wait to see what you think!
You make this sound so good.
It wasn’t hard…it really was!
Oh this sounds good and definitely different. I’ve seen this title on lists but didn’t really know what it was about. Adding to my TBR!
I hope you love it as much as I did Katherine.
This sounds amazing. I really do want to read it, so I’m glad to hear you loved it so much. Any book that deals with a library of sorts intrigues me.
I hope you do, I loved it!
Tyler H. Jolley
This sounds like a really great and fast read/listen. Thanks for sharing, Kimba!
Happy to share. I just discover the author battles mental illness and it all makes sense how it felt so realistic and on point.
Debbie S Haupt
I’m ordering a copy right now xo
Sweet!! I hope you love it!
This premise just sounds so interesting, and I’m glad to hear you loved it!
Thank you Angela
What a lovely review, Kimberly. I haven’t actually read this offering by Matt Haig – but I have read The Last Family in England – wonderful but a bit of a heartbreak and my personal favourite – The Radleys, which is about vampires, but not remotely anything to do with Twilight. Funny and poignant, it’s won awards this side of the Pond… I will be getting hold of this one, thanks to your recommendation:)). Thank you for sharing.
Thanks for the rec.
this one sounds so cool and different. everything about it makes me want to read it
I hope you do. It is one I’d like to gift everyone.
Trish @ Between My Lines
I’m glad you loved it as much as I did.
I really did, and the narration was stellar!
Anne - Books of My Heart
Fantastic review! I wonder if I can get to this one soonish.
I hope you do Anne.
Exploring all life’s choices and not just the ones taken does sound really interesting. I love It’s a Wonderful Life, too. 🙂
Me too… I hope you get to listen to this one Sophia.
I’ve never read a Matt Haig novel but this one really caught my attention right from that title! I also really love the sound of the premise. I’m quite curious to read how it’s actually done and it sounds like it’s really done well.
I hope you decide to grab it. No regrets here!
The story sounds wonderful. A great to show us to appreciate the life we have as the grass is not always greener on the other side. It is green where we water it.
Agreed. I had a blast exploring all the lives and of course the library.