Title: How To Stop Time
Author: Matt Haig
Publisher: Canongate Books
Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret.
He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. From Elizabethan England to Jazz Age Paris, from New York to the South Seas, Tom has seen a lot, and now craves an ordinary life. Always changing his identity to stay alive, Tom has the perfect cover – working as a history teacher at a London comprehensive. Here he can teach the kids about wars and witch hunts as if he’d never witnessed them first-hand. He can try and tame the past that is fast catching up with him.
The only thing Tom mustn’t do is fall in love.
How to Stop Time is a wild and bittersweet story about losing and finding yourself, about the certainty of change and about the lifetimes it can take to really learn how to live.
How To Stop Time is a wonderfully engaging, lovely story which combines everyday life with elements of science fiction and fantasy.
As someone who doesn’t read a lot of sci-fi, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I hugely enjoyed this novel. We find out about Tom’s life over the many hundreds of years that he’s been alive, and how his ‘condition’ has affected family life, relationships and his entire outlook on life. It’s touching and a lovely read, with some poignant moments and plenty of humorous touches.
I felt so sorry for Tom at times and it’s interesting to read about someone wishing they wouldn’t live forever in a world where we’re all trying to live as long as possible. Because Tom has to effectively start his life over, in a different place with different people, every 8 years, meaningful relationships are kind of pointless as he knows he’ll have to leave again in a set amount of time.
How To Stop Time made me think about how I’d feel in the same situation as Tom. I won’t give too much away about it but I’ll just say that I’m not at all surprised that it’s already been snapped up for the film version – it’s a great novel which I’ll be very intrigued to see translated onto the big screen! Highly recommended.
Many thanks to Canongate Books for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.