Review Round Up: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Matt Haig’s new book explores regret, hope and forgiveness through the eyes of a character who gets to see the possibilities of her life through a library. Here’s what critics have been saying about it…

The Guardian: “This is a streamlined novel; no side plots, no broad cast of characters, no twists of fantasy for the sheer joy of it. While the concept does fly high, it also flies straight. For those readers who might be put off by speculative fiction, The Midnight Library is a charming way into the genre.”

The Scotsman: “The book is not elegantly written, but the story has an engaging, page-turning quality, and the dialogue is often powerful and pithy, even if Mrs Elm’s library musings sometimes smack too much of homespun philosophy, or a positive thinking manual.”

iNews: “Despite the fantastical nature of the plot, Nora is the anchor of the story: whether at home on the verge of taking an overdose, or browsing through the library’s magical books, she is absolutely real. Her journey is our journey, and by the end, my own “book of regrets” felt considerably lighter.”

The Arts Desk: “As a reviewer, my own lived experience with existential depression and suicidal ideation meant that I faced this book with a tightness in my chest. I was both intrigued and uneasy about the use of a fantastical library to explore something as real and horrific as suicidal depression. However, on meeting Nora – a complex but deeply likeable character – I had faith that the book would be a compassionate illustration of an often stigmatised experience.”

The Times: “From this rather unpromising beginning, Matt Haig conjures a high-concept fantasy. Nora wakes in a building full of books, a kind of limbo between life and death. This is the “Midnight Library”, and each volume it contains represents a version of how her life could turn out if she made other choices. Selecting a different book each time, Nora is thrown into a variety of lives in the hope that she can find one in which she is happy and thus decide to live.”

Kirkus Reviews: “This book isn’t heavy on hows; you won’t need an advanced degree in quantum physics or string theory to follow its simple yet fantastical logic. Predicting the path Nora will ultimately choose isn’t difficult, either. Haig treats the subject of suicide with a light touch, and the book’s playful tone will be welcome to readers who like their fantasies sweet if a little too forgettable.”

The Midnight Library is available to buy now.

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