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The Midnight Library

Written by: Matt Haig
Narrated by: Carey Mulligan
Length: 8 hrs and 49 mins
4.7 out of 5 stars (29 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

What if you could try out all the lives you could have lived and pick one? Would you choose differently? 

'Between life and death there is a library,' she said. 'And within that library, the shelves go on for ever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices. Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?'

Thirty-four-year-old Nora's life could be better. She's lonely, single and has just lost her job. Her cat dying feels like the last straw. What else is there to live for? Then she finds a library between life and death where she gets to try all the other lives she could have lived. 

The Midnight Library is a gloriously relatable novel about life, death and the in-between. It is about finding hope, playing chess, dumping regrets and picking the right people around you.

©2020 Matt Haig (P)2020 Canongate Books Ltd

What listeners say about The Midnight Library

Average Customer Ratings
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Simple story about the complexities of life

In the most simple of ways, Matt Haig has addressed some of life's most complicated questions and emotions. What do we do with regret and how do we find beauty in life. One of my favourite books of 2020.

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Delightful!

Loved the book. So fitting that it was exactly 12 AM when I finished it! Fiction is rarely life changing, but this one can. It really makes you think and question your perspective on things. Makes you re-examine all your regrets, your what ifs. It makes you think of the one known life you have and look at not the missed boats but at potentiality :) Lovely reading by Carey Mulligan, her voice seemed perfect for this!

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Beautiful

It has a beautiful storyline and very well narration. You won’t regret buying this book. I bet ya

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A brilliant, heart warming read! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

If you read only one book this year, make it this one! It's such a warm and fuzzy read- like soft blankets on a cold winter night and amazing hot chocolate all rolled into one❤️

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A classic of recent times

loved the book...it's inspiring, intriguing and widely imaginative at the same time! Matt Haig is brilliant, as always.

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Though provoking

A book everyone can and should read at any point of their lives. Heart warming read.

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One life, learn and live it with little regret

The book is based on the "I wish" sigh that we all have now and then. if you could live any life you wanted, which one would it be? And if you could live a fantastic life but or a near or dear one is absent from it, would it be the same? the book's story telling was lucid yet captivating that I couldn't put it down. there were times when I wanted to tell the protagonist to choose this or that option. also the bit on quantum physics was interesting to learn. Matt Haig is turning out to be my favourite Author for the Year! the only bit disconcerting was the experiential process that the book shows. At some point, I also wanted to experience those options, but the means were definitely not the way to reach the end. Overall, our current life is so much richer than we know, and we should be nurturing it than looking for greener pastures.

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A life affirming book.

As long as there is life, there are possibilities. This book reminds us that changing one's perception towards life makes it worth living. Drawing from philosophers like Thoreau, this book weaves a beautiful story spanning multiple universes. It was a fantastic read. Undoubtedly one of my favourite reads of 2020.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 14-10-20

An interesting and meaningful book

Thoroughly enjoyed every second, couldn’t put the book down- highly recommended, Althpughly NOT for children,

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-10-20

One of the best books I've ever read.

This book is absolutely wonderful. It shook me awake. It made me cry. It reminded me why I'm happy to be alive. (And Carey Mulligan's narration is PERFECT.)

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  • Rana K.
  • 21-09-20

Exquisite

Everybody needs to read this book. It provides such a different perspective of life and death, and everything in between. Also Carey Mulligan is phenomenal in her narration, making me always wanting more. Hats off to both incredible talents.

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  • Hurra Huse
  • 09-09-20

It is as good as they say

This book will stay with me, and I will listen to it again, for comfort. It is so imaginative, so good at describing life as the mess that it can sometimes be. There is so much hope in this book, I wish all those who feel or has at sometime felt hopeless or helpless would get the chance to read it. So that would mean most of us I guess. The narration is brilliant, and the tone of voice fits the main character perfectly.

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  • Thanh
  • 29-08-20

Spectacular! Life changing story

I cannot rave enough about this book. Beautiful, engaging storytelling by Matt, and Carey Mulligan knocked the performance out of the park. It’s a really touching story that makes you think and gives you a new perspective on life. I cried so much at the end. Would 10/10 recommend this book to anyone who’s struggling with mental health issues and suicidal ideation, or anyone in general for that matter. If I could give this book 6 stars I would. Do yourself a favour and listen to it, you’ll thank me later.

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  • M. Botha
  • 29-08-20

A hopeful conclusion

I feel this book was written by someone who really understands what depression feels like. To me, it was like a self help book, without being exactly that. It brings insight and hope. Very well done, Matt Haig.

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  • Michelle Shepherd
  • 14-08-20

Delightful and exciting

Purchased this the day it was released and have just finished it. I loved it. Carey Mulligan narrates with great empathy and keeps you enthralled. Who hasnt wondered how their lives would have turned out if they'd made other decisions. This book allows the main character, Nora to see how her life would have turned out if she had said yes, or chose a different path. Worth a listen.

37 people found this helpful

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  • Chris Cunningham
  • 15-08-20

A touching look at depression and regret.

Matt Haig writes beautifully - I didn’t realise how touched I would be by this book. Throughout I found myself considering my own choices - not my past regrets, but the decisions I can make from this point forwards. Carey’s narration is outstanding - a well suited pick.

35 people found this helpful

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  • Vee
  • 16-08-20

Beautiful story, well read

Such a great idea, well executed and a really wonderful story that flows well and kept me hooked. Matt Haig writes with humour and sadness in equal measure and his core beliefs shine through in this lovely tale. The importance of kindness, love, caring about the planet and not comparing yourself to others. It is read beautifully by Carey. I needed this story, thank you!

30 people found this helpful

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  • Joan
  • 04-09-20

Fantasy may be hard to take if you’re depressed

Please scroll through all of the many reviews on here as there are mixed feelings about this one. Carey Mulligan is a superb narrator and really enhanced the book. It seemed more like a young adult read, simplistic and aimed at a young teenage audience perhaps? If you are positive and value life then you may enjoy the premise of this story and get hope and strength from its message. If you are struggling and finding life incredibly challenging you may be brought down by the simplistic fantasy and feel bad about yourself because life is not easy. Matt Haig has his own mental health struggles and I get why he wrote this book, but it won’t be for everyone. I know this will be made into a film, it is ripe for a Christmas blockbuster. Most reviewers absolutely love this story, some find it too sickly sweet or are bored with the daft fantasy. Some people will despair that their lives don’t match up. I am a mixture of all of the above!! Glad I heard it but wouldn’t want to listen again and not happy about the way it was written but realise that it will make a lot of people happy.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Mrs R G
  • 18-08-20

wonderful

I listened on audible and the narrator was excellent! A lovely tale to make you think about your regrets. Very early on I knew where this book would go but that possibly comes from being a huge Matt Haig fan. It didn’t detract from the story at all and I loved the journey of the protagonist. I feel he really poured himself into this book because it’s beautiful and so delicate in its construction. Choose this, everyone can and should enjoy it. I’ve recommended it already!

18 people found this helpful

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  • Kat S
  • 15-08-20

Finished Too Quickly

I really enjoyed this book, so much so I couldn't stop listening to it and I finished it too soon. Cary Mulligan's narration was excellent and perfect for Norma's voice and the concept of the book was brilliant.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Miss Natasha GM Williams
  • 15-08-20

Brilliant and interesting.

Interesting look at depression and the regrets we all have. The story takes you on a brilliant journey of Nora’s self discovery through many life times. I found it uplifting and powerful, as someone who struggles with her own mental health the ending was empowering.

15 people found this helpful

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  • janey
  • 18-08-20

worth listening to for the narration alone

I took a chance on this book and loved the narration. interesting story, no real surprises or depth and a bit cheesy at the end, however, i thoroughly enjoyed this book and I don't think you will regret listening to it.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Mhairi
  • 16-08-20

A beautiful story, fantastic narrator.

Really enjoyed this story, thought provoking and life affirming. Found it difficult to put down.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Nic
  • 14-08-20

Magic

Love Matt Haig and this is by far my favourite. Takes what ifs and puts them into perspective. Narrator is great too, love her as the voice of Nora. Love!

7 people found this helpful

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  • Justine
  • 20-08-20

Didn’t want it to end!

I loved this, Matt Haig at his absolute best. Makes you think (as usual) and full of his trademark honesty and ultimate hope. Fantastic narration too.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anne
  • 09-09-20

Loved it

An idea we've all thought about, beautifully manifested through a simple story, with an endearing protagonist and science and philosophy woven gently through. Carey Mulligan's narration is brilliant.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-09-20

Novel concept

Loved the Midnight Library..... A timely reminder of the importance of appreciating exactly where we are, right now, today.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kerry Perkins
  • 29-10-20

Best thing about 2020

This book has done more than 20 years of expensive therapy! My favourite book so far, bar none!

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  • Isabelle
  • 25-10-20

Deep and Thought Provoking

As someone who struggles with mental health issues, getting through the first third-to-half of the book was challenging. The things Nora was thinking really resonated with me so much so that I felt a little uncomfortable and would stop listening for a while. But I'm glad I persisted. I was angry when she didn't get to keep the last life she tried, and that nearly made me stop listening again. But I couldn't not find out how it all ended, and I'm glad there were seeds of ideas (see what I did there?) for what positive things will come Nora's way.

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  • Fiona ET
  • 24-10-20

A book of infinite possibilities

This was both complex and profound. Matt Haig is masterful in speaking to the heart of loss, grief and depression, and tackles the topic of regret with tenderness, candour and compassion. Ironically, in listening to this book, I felt heard. (Carey Mulligan’s narration was delightful and brilliantly executed.)

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  • Ejcb12
  • 20-10-20

Easy to listen

Easy to listen to and a novel idea. It could be a little depressing in places so not a story to listen to if you're not feeling so great. But I loved the idea of a library of lives.

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  • JM
  • 11-10-20

Finished it in 2 days!

Finished listening to this book in 2 days. The story is unexpected and wonderful and the narrator delivers it beautifully. Sad, funny, thought provoking and just a damn great read.

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  • Sarah
  • 10-10-20

A beautiful book 💖

Finished this in less than a day, could not stop listening once I started. Beautifully written and performed and an absolute treasure of a book 💖

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  • indigirl
  • 10-10-20

Fantastic concept, thoroughly enjoyed

I loved this book. I think we all have wondered "what if" sometimes with regards to past choices we have made, and what directions our lives might have taken. This book had me tearing up in places. Carey Mulligan did a great job (although I wonder if she has spent much time around Australians - a few of her pronunciations were a bit off). Fantastic concept, I have recommended this book to many people. Thoroughly enjoyable read.