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The Midnight Library por Matt Haig
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The Midnight Library (edição 2020)

por Matt Haig

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1,8531016,676 (3.94)72
Membro:photonegative
Título:The Midnight Library
Autores:Matt Haig
Informação:Edinburgh : Canongate, 2020.
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
Avaliação:
Etiquetas:to-read

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The Midnight Library por Matt Haig

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Mostrando 1-5 de 97 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
What if you could go back and see what your life would be like if you had made different choices? That's what Nora Seed gets to do when she attempts suicide and finds herself in a library filled with books showing her the outcome those choices would have had in her life. A guide, in the form of her former school librarian Mrs. Elm, tells her that when she finds the right life she can choose to stay there, so Nora gamely decides to see if she could have had a better life.

I was intrigued by the sort of reverse of "It's a Wonderful Life": instead of seeing what life would have been like without her, Nora gets to see what would have happened. The idea plays with the theory of overlapping infinite universes, giving it just a hint of science fiction, and quotes from Thoreau and philosophers abound as Nora learns to let go of regrets. The story arc was predictable and the point as subtle as an elephant, making this a less than stellar read for me. ( )
  bell7 | May 9, 2021 |
Nora Seed is depressed. Her life is depressing and going nowhere. She is alone and lonely reflecting on choices she didn’t make. The Midnight Library and Mrs Elm her school librarian save her. It’s a bit philosophy, Nora’s favorite philosopher is Thoreau and this is threaded throughout the many lives she will experience. The story is predictable but nicely written. ( )
  bblum | May 6, 2021 |
This was a good book with an interesting premise of being stuck between life and death and getting to see how your life might have turned out if you made different choices. It was engaging and thought provoking, but I didn't love the main character which made it hard for me to love the book. I thought many of the other characters in the book were perhaps more interesting. Still a good read and fun to think about other versions of my own life out there! ( )
  sbenne3 | May 3, 2021 |
I know that not everyone loved this book. Some people found it too much like a “self help” manual, but I loved it.

”Never underestimate the big importance of small things,” ( )
  JRlibrary | May 3, 2021 |
I started to understand that this book wasn't for me as soon as Nora reached the Midnight Library and was handed her heavy Book of Regrets.

Four things became clear to me then.

  1. Nora's decision to end her life because she can find no reason to live and spends each day in pain and sadness and feeling that her only contribution is to make the lives of those around her worse is not accepted as a legitimate choice.
  2. Nora's depression, the thing that has drained her of the will to live, is labelled Situational and not Clinical depression. In other words, it's seen as a temporary condition arising from a trauma or series of traumas. The implication seemed to be that Nora has had a problem adjusting to her new circumstances and that this is a problem that could be fixed. This ignores the fact that Nora's depression is not recent, appears to be recurrent and that her mother also seems to have suffered from depression for some time, all of which suggest Clinical depression.
  3. The Book Of Regrets seems to suggest that Nora's depression and her decision to end her life result from her being weighed down by a burden of regret that has overwhelmed her. In other words, Nora is where she is because of choices she wishes she hadn't made and which she can't cope with the consequences of. In other words, Nora is to blame for her depression and her decision to suicide.
  4. The Library is a device that treats life as a coat you choose to wear and that you could exchange for another. It offers Nora the opportunity to try on several lives and see if another life, with different choices and different regrets, would fit her better. This seemed to me to model life as a video game where you get to level up if you make the right decisions and where the Library offers you the opportunity to learn by playing several times.


I found all four of these points annoyed me. I think it demeans a sincere decision to choose to die. I feel that it manages to put depression on a par with a muscle strain that you'll recover from if you rest up and it seems to imply that the decision to suicide is just one more bad decisions in a series of bad decisions that have generated nothing but a Book of Regrets.

The idea that this could be 'fixed' by a trying on series of alternate lives seemed specious to me.

I read the first alternate life anyway and wasn't surprised to find that Nora still wasn't happy. It was quickly apparent that the man she'd jilted in her 'Root Life' and who was her husband in her first alternate life, was a tosser she was better off without.

I groaned at that point and finally understood the comparison between this book and 'It's A Wonderful Life'. I could see that I was going to spend the next several hours listening to Nora trying on alternate life after alternate life and finding that none of them was perfect. Eventually, I expected her to work out that the regrets that made her 'Root Life' unbearable weren't really things she needed to regret and that she'd then revisit her decision today and return, like Scrooge on Christmas morning, to live her life as best she could. Amen.

I don't know if the book ends like that because I didn't stick around to find out. I was only a quarter of the way through the book and I already felt that I was being lectured and that the premise of the lecture wasn't just flawed but was one I was actively angered by.

I believe the decision to stop living is a valid one and if you've never had cause to consider it then you're very lucky and I hope you stay that way. I know that depression is a killer. It robs you of your life and your self in the same way that Alzheimer's does. I don't believe it can be treated by revisiting your regrets and showing them to be specious. I think life is fundamentally entropic, heat going to cold, and that living is about finding ways to stay warm until and unless the effort of staying warm is more than you can give.

I'd gone into this book with high hopes. I knew that if I stayed with it all the way through I would just be making myself angry.

So, 'The Midnight Library' went back to Audible, like a regret I didn't need, and will be replaced with a book that I hope to enjoy more.
( )
1 vote MikeFinnFiction | Apr 29, 2021 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 97 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
If you’ve never pondered life’s contingencies—like what might’ve happened if you’d skipped the party where you met your spouse—then Matt Haig’s novel The Midnight Library will be an eye-opening experience. This gentle but never cloying fable offers us a chance to weigh our regret over missed opportunities against our gratitude for the life we have.... [Haig's] allusions to multiverses, string theory and Erwin Schrödinger never detract from the emotional heart of this alluring novel.... Haig brings her story to a conclusion that’s both enlightening and deeply satisfying.
adicionada por Lemeritus | editarBookPage, Harvey Freedenberg (Oct 1, 2020)
 
Few fantasies are more enduring than the idea that there might be a second chance at a life already lived, some sort of magical reset in which mistakes can be erased, regrets addressed, choices altered.... The narrative throughout has a slightly old-fashioned feel, like a bedtime story. It’s an absorbing but comfortable read, imaginative in the details if familiar in its outline. The invention of the library as the machinery through which different lives can be accessed is sure to please readers and has the advantage of being both magical and factual. Every library is a liminal space; the Midnight Library is different in scale, but not kind. And a vision of limitless possibility, of new roads taken, of new lives lived, of a whole different world available to us somehow, somewhere, might be exactly what’s wanted in these troubled and troubling times.
adicionada por Lemeritus | editarNew York Times, Karen Joy Fowler (sítio Web pago) (Sep 29, 2020)
 
...“between life and death there is a midnight library,” a library that contains multiple volumes of the lives she could have had if she had made different choices.... Haig’s latest (after the nonfiction collection Notes on a Nervous Planet, 2019) is a stunning contemporary story that explores the choices that make up a life, and the regrets that can stifle it. A compelling novel that will resonate with readers.
adicionada por Lemeritus | editarBooklist, LynnDee Wathen (Aug 1, 2020)
 
An unhappy woman who tries to commit suicide finds herself in a mysterious library that allows her to explore new lives.... This book isn't heavy on hows; you won’t need an advanced degree in quantum physics or string theory to follow its simple yet fantastical logic. Predicting the path Nora will ultimately choose isn’t difficult, either. Haig treats the subject of suicide with a light touch, and the book’s playful tone will be welcome to readers who like their fantasies sweet if a little too forgettable. A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life.
adicionada por Lemeritus | editarKirkus Reviews (Jul 14, 2020)
 

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I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones, and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life.
--Sylvia Plath
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To all the health workers. And the care workers. Thank you.
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Nineteen years before she decided to die, Nora Seed sat in the warmth of the small library at Hazeldene School in the town of Bedford.
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She knew she should be experiencing pity and despair for her feline friend – and she was – but she had to acknowledge something else. As she stared at Voltaire’s still and peaceful expression – that total absence of pain – there was an inescapable feeling brewing in the darkness. Envy.
The universe tended towards chaos and entropy. That was basic thermodynamics. Maybe it was basic existence too.
Bertrand Russell wrote that ‘To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three-parts dead’. Maybe that was her problem. Maybe she was just scared of living. But Bertrand Russell had more marriages and affairs than hot dinners, so perhaps he was no one to give advice.
A person was like a city. You couldn’t let a few less desirable parts put you off the whole. There may be bits you don’t like, a few dodgy side streets and suburbs, but the good stuff makes it worthwhile.
‘Want,’ she told her, in a measured tone, ‘is an interesting word. It means lack. Sometimes if we fill that lack with something else the original want disappears entirely. Maybe you have a lack problem rather than a want problem. Maybe there is a life that you really want to live.’
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