Have you ever imagined how your life might have turned out if you had taken a different decision at some point? If you had taken a job you turned down? Said no to something you didn’t really want to do but still did? Or simply allowed yourself to follow your dreams?
Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library is about exactly this scenario; Nora Seed decides to end her life but instead ends up in the Midnight Library where, thanks to a fairy-godmother-like librarian, she is given the option to try out all the other lives she could have had. In doing so she reflect on what her regrets are and whether life really is so miserable killing herself is still what Nora thinks is best.
Although the opening may unsettle some readers this novel could work really well as a book group read or an inspiration for a creative writing group. Sensitively handled it could also work in helping to discuss mental health issues and taboos around suicide. An easy and quick read, The Midnight Library isn’t as funny or insightful as some of Haig’s earlier books but it is one that could spark interesting conversations and personal reflections.
[Reviewed for FOLIO by Zoe]