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Reviewer Heather Scheele-Clark



Heather Scheele-Clark is an Archives Specialist


The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Have you ever wondered “What if?” That is the main thread that binds Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library. In it we see Nora, who doesn’t quite have her life together, at least not in terms of what modern society might call successful. She feels out of place, alone, questioning her existence in this world, and if anyone would truly miss having her in their lives. After deciding it was her last day, she finds herself in a type of purgatory. Only for Nora it takes the shape of a library with her elementary school librarian, Mrs. Elm, as her ‘spiritual’ guide. The library contains every variation of every action she did not take. Relationships that ended or never existed, careers never ventured, etc. “Every life contains many millions of decisions,” says Mrs. Elm. “Some big, some small. But every time one decision is taken over another, the outcomes differ. An irreversible variation occurs, which in turn leads to further variations. These books are portals to all the lives you could be living.” Nora has a choice to make. Read the books and live those roads not taken to find one she wants to live or decide if she is really done. While the possibilities might be endless, her time to decide which life she wants to live is not. Haig does a brilliant job at tackling big themes (life, love, death, existence, consequences of actions) and leaves the reader better off for it.