Micro-Review #119: The Midnight Library

by Matt Haig

Nora Seed is tired of pain and failure. A self-administered overdose seems like the only cure. But there’s an ethereal weigh station on Nora’s path to oblivion. The Midnight Library provides her with one last chance (actually, endless chances) to come to terms with the world. What follows is an episodic journey into many of Nora’s lives in a personal multiverse, a place full of reinvention options for the troubled.

This is a fast, rewarding read so long as you don’t ask too many questions. The setup is fertile ground for fiction but not entirely honest. Within our troubled heroine lurks the convenient ability to be an Olympic swimming champion, a huge rock star, a glaciologist and a philosophy professor at Cambridge. That she’ll eventually get her life right is never in doubt. This renders the ending predictable and makes Nora’s pit stops in parallel worlds feel redundant. But sunshine-seeking readers don’t care; they’ve made this book a bestseller. Cynics should look elsewhere for their fiction; most of them won’t make it past page 50.

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