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KPCW invites members of the Friends of the Park City and Summit County libraries to review novels and non-fiction every month.

December 2021 Book Review - "The Midnight Library"

Bestselling author Matt Haig’s newest novel “The Midnight Library," propels his heroine through a mysterious, metaphysical journey.

My favorite books are those which do not end on the final page but keep me thinking, reflecting and imagining beyond the last punctuation mark. Matt Haig’s latest novel The Midnight Library is such a book.

Much like, George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life”, Nora Seed has reached a point in her young life where regrets and sadness have overwhelmed her ability to appreciate life for one more day. At the exact moment, where her life could end, she is transported to a mysterious library supervised by Mrs. Elm, the kind, school librarian Nora remembers from her youth.

Not only does Mrs. Elm direct Nora to a book containing all the regrets of her life, she points out volume after volume narrating lives Nora would have led, had she made a different decision here or chosen a different path there.

The concept of these multiple, parallel universes and Nora’s journey to them and through them is fascinating. Definitely adapted to the available technology of today, Nora relies on social media and Google for quick lessons on backgrounds of those around her and in some cases her own history. An Olympic swimmer with a motivational speaking career? An internationally-known songwriter and rock star? A doctor’s wife on a book-writing sabbatical meeting her 5-year-old daughter for the first time? A preeminent glaciologist determined to prevent global warming? A vintner’s partner? A pub owner? A lonely, unemployed spinster? Is Nora one of them, none of them or all of them?

Readers, along with Nora, gain insights and learn lessons about life on her remarkable trek through time. Notably the following: Regrets only hold us back. We matter much more than we realize. Never underestimate the big importance of small things. We are all filled with infinite potential. And above all, as long as we are alive, the possibilities are endless.

In a quote from the book, Haig writes;

“We only need to be one person. We only need to feel one existence.

We don't have to do everything in order to be everything, because we are already infinite.”

The Midnight Library can be found in our local libraries. (But don’t look for it after midnight because you’ll never know what might be lurking on the shelves!) For KPCW, this is Barb Bretz with your monthly book review.

Friday Film Reviewer & Monthly Book Reviewer