How to Stop Time by Matt Haig.



I am old. That is the first thing to tell you. The thing you are least likely to believe. If you saw me you would probably think I was about forty, but you would be very wrong.

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. (Goodreads)





I am a massive fan of Matt Haig. His book Reasons to Stay Alive is so important to me and changed my life in ways I tried to articulate in a post, which you can read here. However I have never read any of his fiction (where have I been?) and I was so captivated by the title of this book that I started reading it with no idea what it was about.

I read this in one day. I was so engrossed that I could not put it down. Matt Haig is such a beautiful storyteller and has such a vivid imagination that pulled me in and swooped me into the world of Tom Hazard.

I have not read a book that plays with time and history like this before, which is part of why I found it so interesting. Tom has lived through centuries and has seen and lived through so much of the history which we learn about today; witch trials, the plague, wars and more, and has also met some of the most brilliant minds in recent history. Matt Haig was unafraid to include characters such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and William Shakespeare in his work which I felt was very brave but also very effective. It can be hard to write fictional depictions of real people, especially those who lived at a time where we cannot be 100% certain of what they were like and how they behaved (such as Shakespeare). However, Matt Haig creates a fully realised and fully believable characterisation of Shakespeare, and I adored this aspect of the plot.

I also loved the comparisons that Tom draws between his life at different times in history compared with modern day.  He references vaguely things such as twitter and other social medias, ‘snowflakes’, the state of the modern world and how he has seen similar mistakes be repeated throughout his long life.

“I mean, any truth that people aren’t ready to believe sounds like science fiction. The earth is going around the sun. Electromagnetism. Evolution. X-rays. Aeroplanes. DNA. Stem cells. Climate change. Water on Mars. It is all science fiction until we see it happen.”

As well as the truly innovative and captivating synopsis, this book is so beautifully written that I don’t know how else to describe it other than word porn. It is delightful and descriptive, heartbreaking and uplifting, magical and realistic, fictional and true. I can’t put into words how excellent it was. It was fast paced at times and extremely thrilling. It left me wanting more and I would love if I could force this book onto everybody. Simply magical.

“Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.”

Until next time.



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