9/2020 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
The most difficult part of doing a review of Matt Haig’s latest book is to properly classify it. On one hand, it is a very well-done fantasy novel lending itself to one very satisfying all-night read. On the other hand, it is very probably an introduction to the author’s philosophy of life that he wishes to impart to his readers. However, take it is a mesmerizing book; a true all-nighter, and a great example of the writings of an author that is truly at the top of his game. One way or another Haig’s books will be looked for as they are published.
Nora Seed is found at a point that she is seriously thinking of killing herself because she is totally dissatisfied with her life. She has the feeling that nothing she wanted has been achieved and her life is a failure. She is suddenly transported to a gigantic library staffed by only one person and with no other patrons aside from Nora present. The librarian, who looks like the person that worked at the school Nora went to explains that this library containing millions of books consists of accounts of all the possibilities Nora’s life can take. Before she goes ahead with doing away with herself, she should start reading books that are about every alternative that Nora’s life can follow.
The story takes Nora and the reader through different scenarios of life, based on wishes she had while growing up and never acted upon. Events in these alternative lives are described along with Nora’s reactions. There are episodes in which she was married to a movie star, another where is an arctic explorer and has a run-in with a polar bear. In another, she is married to her high school crush, and another that sees her moving to Australia from her home in England with a friend of hers that did so.
The ending follows Nora’s reactions to each sequence and how it affects her. Whichever sequence the reader believes the novel is it is well written and quickly captures the personalities of Nora and other characters populating the book.
10/2020 Paul Lane
THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY by Matt Haig. Viking (September 29, 2020). ISBN 978-0525559474. 304p.