How to Stop Time by Matt Haig Book Review
Matt Haig is the award-winning writer of the hugely successful memoir Reasons to Stay Alive and several fiction novels including The Humans, The Boy Called Christmas and The Girl Who Saved Christmas.
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 to tame the past that is fast catching up with him. The only thing Tom must not 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.
I was lucky enough to receive an early edition of How to Stop Time by Matt Haig from Netgalley and I sped through it! The story is set in modern days from the perspective of a man called Tom who was born in the 1500s to Huguenot parents. He suffers from a condition that means he ages at a
The story is set in modern day UK from the perspective of a man called Tom Hazard who was born in the 1500s to Huguenot parents. He suffers from a condition that means he ages at a much slower pace than everyone else. He’s been alive for over 500 years yet only appears to be in his early 40s.
The story makes a lot of time jumps from the modern day, where he has just been hired as a history teacher in London, to Suffolk & London in the 1600s, New York in the 1800s to Paris in the 1920s. Each time jump tells a story of how Tom came to be where he is today.
As a history student, it really appeals to me! Matt Haig does not stint away from the realities of the time, from the harshness of the witch-hunting regime in the 1600s to the heady escapism of the 1920s. We see more than just Tom’s life as well!
The characters are eclectic and stand out from each other so that you remember exactly who is who and each story creates a lot of sympathy for the main cast. I loved the addition of famous characters as well, such as Shakespeare and F. Scott Fitzgerald, it made the story feel really unique and fun!
I looked forward to every chapter, which incidentally are quite short so make for a brilliant fast-paced reading session on the tube!
With the news that Benedict Cumberbatch’s production company have bought the film rights, and Benedict Cumberbatch is set to portray the main character in a film, it was very easy to envision the main character – which is not necessarily a bad thing.
The only weakness I found within the book, sadly, was the ending, it felt a little rushed compared to the other fast-paced yet well thought out plot of the novel. With the build-up for the ending, I was expecting more from the characters that featured and more of a closing to the whole novel as it is a stand-alone, as far as I’m aware.
But nonetheless, it was a thrillingly fun read and I will be recommending it to people before and after the movie comes out over the next few years. You can pre-order your copy here or request on Netgalley if you’re a member!
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