The Midnight Library

Book review by Deane Barker tags: fiction

I was headed home from Frankfurt, and I needed a book for the nine-hour flight. This was one of the few titles in the shop that was in English.

Turns out, it’s a wonderful novel.

A mid-30s woman in England has had a life full of regret where things just didn’t work out for her. She looks back on so many decisions that she wishes she could change.

She decides to end her life, but ends up in-between – supernaturally stuck in a vast library with her school librarian. The librarian explains that every book in the library is another life she could’ve lived if she had made different decisions. So, she starts taking books off the shelves and living alternate lives.

I won’t ruin it by spoiling what happens, but the story is a look at the nature of regret, and how we define happiness. As humans, we tend to live our current lives, and all of the “other” lives that we supposedly could have lived if we had only done this or that or the other thing.

But would we really want to live them? And are our lives defined by what we’ve done in the past, or what we’ll do in the future?

A wonderful story. It’s tailor-made for a movie. Carey Mulligan narrated the audiobook, and I can see her starring in it.

Book Info

Matt Haig

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