How to Stop Time
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.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 Details

TitleHow to Stop Time
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 6th, 2017
PublisherCanongate Books
ISBN1782118616
ISBN-139781782118619
Number of pages304 pages
Rating
GenreFantasy, Fiction, Adult, Historical, Science Fiction, Adult Fiction, Novels, Mystery, Time Travel

How to Stop Time Review

  • Fishgirl
    March 28, 2017
    I guess I should straight off the bat tell you what happened when I finished reading "The Humans." And yes, I know this is supposed to be a review about "How to Stop Time." Bear with me. So, I finished "The Humans" and I a)wept b) started it again immediately c) spent the next two years giving it to everyone on my gift list and basically insisting everyone read it. My ace in the hole has always been this - "If the road gets rocky (and everyone's road gets rocky sometimes) I can re-read "The Huma I guess I should straight off the bat tell you what happened when I finished reading "The Humans." And yes, I know this is supposed to be a review about "How to Stop Time." Bear with me. So, I finished "The Humans" and I a)wept b) started it again immediately c) spent the next two years giving it to everyone on my gift list and basically insisting everyone read it. My ace in the hole has always been this - "If the road gets rocky (and everyone's road gets rocky sometimes) I can re-read "The Humans" and I'll feel that feeling again, that I'm not alone, that there is hope, that there is goodness." Okay, enough about "The Humans" and I write this as an unabashedly huge fan of the way Matt Haig puts words on paper. Let me tell you about "How to Stop Time." Wait. No. You know, I read a lot of reviews here on "Goodreads" and think wow, bingo, right on, so well done! I really admire reviewers who are able to articulate what often just feels like a jumble in my own mind over a reaction to a book. You don't need me to tell you what this novel is about, that blurb is up top there, right by the book. See? Yeah. It's about that. One of my friends went to the London Book Fair and scored an advance copy. Because she's one of the people I encouraged (forced/insisted/wrangled int0) reading "The Humans" and she also fell in love with the book, she came to my work and dropped off the newest novel last week. In. My. Hands. I'm serious. I could see it in her eyes, I could see it, I barely could function for the rest of my shift and I wrapped it up so it would not get anything on it at all. She said, "You know how you loved "The Humans," right?" I nodded. She said, "Well, he was just clearing his throat. Wait until you go into this one." Can you imagine? Can you? Try. Think kind of shaky, breath a bit rapid and shallow, scared and excited, all at the same time.I (get this) PUT IT ASIDE for six days. There must be an award somewhere for this. Get it for me. I deserve it. I wanted a day where I had no work to go to and so I waited. That day was yesterday. I got up and ate the oatmeal pretty quickly. I made the tea. I sat in my chair. Aside from tea breaks (during which I drank the tea fast and ran back to my chair - picture the menopausal sweaty woman in track pants and polar fleece because it's still SNOWING here these days) - and I read and I read and I read. I nodded so much I looked like one of those little plastic dogs you have seen if you are of a certain age that used to be in the back of cars, those nodding plastic dogs. Did their eyes light up? Maybe some did. The posh ones. So I nodded and I nodded and I nodded. And I wept. And I laughed. And I finished the last page.You know, there's lot of clever authors. There are. Good with words. Big brains. Able to both craft and execute a complex plot line. They're out there. I've read their books. Many of them. Books have been my sustenance for a very long time (but now also fishing and billiards of late). This is what I think. Matt Haig's huge heart (and it may well be the biggest one I've encountered) is equally matched by his huge mind. He cares so deeply. He cares about us, we humans. He cares because we suffer. He cares because we try, we try. And fall down and try again. He has such a far-reaching compassion for humanity that I sit here and think to myself, how can I ever begin to tell you, reader people? How can I tell you? The world is a much softer place for me because of these two novels. My friend was right, the one who loaned me this novel. You'll see, you'll see how this one came into being, how his mind works. It seems so simple really to ponder what he says... what if we were kind? What if we were brave? What if we really let ourselves care? I sent an email to my friend (she asked for one word of what I thought, I'm taking her to dinner in April so we can discuss it properly)..."I wept.I felt like he wrote it just for me.I am sure many people will feel that, yes?"She said:"Yes, they will.You summed it up perfectly. "If you're still reading this, thank you, I know it's long. Okay, you know the drill, run, run, run to the bookstore. Run. Pam/Fishgirl
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  • Whispering Stories
    June 22, 2017
    Tom Hazard, just one one the names he has been know by, is 439 years old. He has a rare condition called Anageria, meaning that his body ages at a very slow rate. For every 15 years of his life, his body ages just one, a condition that began during puberty. This means that he now looks like a man in his 40s.He has lived through many periods in history, met a lot of famous people from the past, and seen plenty of inventions brought to life.There is a secret organisation set up to protect the peop Tom Hazard, just one one the names he has been know by, is 439 years old. He has a rare condition called Anageria, meaning that his body ages at a very slow rate. For every 15 years of his life, his body ages just one, a condition that began during puberty. This means that he now looks like a man in his 40s.He has lived through many periods in history, met a lot of famous people from the past, and seen plenty of inventions brought to life.There is a secret organisation set up to protect the people like Tom, called ‘The Albatross Society’, run by a man who is very, very old, Hendrich. The society gives protection to its members by moving them to new areas every eight years and providing them with new identities, plus they also kill anybody who discovers the truth about them.Hendrich asks for one thing in return, ‘favours’ whenever he requires them. He also gives a word of warning to members of The Albatross Society; ‘Never Fall in Love’.It is 2017 and Tom is now working as a history teacher in a London comprehensive school. With his knowledge of the past, he is very efficient at his job.London is a place where he has lived once before, a place that holds many memories for him. It is a place that in one sense makes him feel at home, whilst in another haunts him.Tom only has one wish in life, to be ordinary.How to Stop Time, is one of those books that you get to the end and then sit back trying to take in just what you have read. This is a powerful novel about life, and living. Two very different things.The book is very touching, and you can’t help but feel for Tom, a man who may have been alive for many years but one who can’t live a normal life. Imagine never being able to get close to anyone, never being able to tell anyone about yourself, and then every eight years you have to become someone else and move far away to start all over again.The book makes you think about your own life, the actions that you take, and the choices that you make. Life is a learning curve, and even Tom is still learning.The story goes back and forth in time, as you travel with Tom through different periods of his life. You get to witness history thorough the eyes of the man who has lived it. You also get to see the mistakes that people have made, over and over again. Sometimes the past isn’t so different from the present.There is an honesty in Matt Haig’s words. A rawness that touches you, and whilst giving you a heart-warming feeling, they can also send shivers down your spine. The way that he looks at life, and sees not only the good, but the horrors that are created is unique.This is a book about not taking yourself, or anyone else for granted. It’s about accepting, and understanding that life is precious, and we are the chosen few to experience it.Just to emphasis how good this book is, it hasn’t even been released yet, but the film rights have already been bought and Benedict Cumberbatch has signed up to play Tom. I couldn’t think of anyone more perfect to be able to fulfil the role.Reviewed by Stacey on www.whisperingstories.com
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  • Liz Barnsley
    April 12, 2017
    How To Stop Time is a beautiful work of fiction – you know I read a lot of books (this is actually book 120 for me of 2017) and I don’t think I have ever read an author that just grasps and conveys the vagaries of human nature quite like Matt Haig does – in a way that makes you feel like he is writing just for you. The emotional sense of his writing is enduring and never anything less than compelling no matter the story being told or the premise that starts it.So there is that – and How To Stop How To Stop Time is a beautiful work of fiction – you know I read a lot of books (this is actually book 120 for me of 2017) and I don’t think I have ever read an author that just grasps and conveys the vagaries of human nature quite like Matt Haig does – in a way that makes you feel like he is writing just for you. The emotional sense of his writing is enduring and never anything less than compelling no matter the story being told or the premise that starts it.So there is that – and How To Stop Time falls firmly under page turner, with a dash of passionate prose, a smattering of emotional trauma and a big hit of poignant insightful commentary on the human race. Pretty much what this author does in a nutshell.Tom is one of those characters that will stay with you long after you have finished reading his story – and what a story it is. He is old, plagued (or blessed maybe that will be subjective) with a condition that means he ages at a much slower rate. Not immortal but feeling that way, he is part of history and an observer of it – we see him over time, at his best and his worst, this is a love story with a touch of mystery and is hugely gripping from the very first page until the tear inducing poignant finale.I won’t give away much, this is one of those books that everyone will come to in their own way and will take from it different things – but Matt Haig manages to bring history alive on the page here through Tom and what he experiences, it almost feels as if you are living it with him. The characters he and we meet along the way all come with their own peculiarities and sense of self, the story weaves somewhat of a magic spell on the reader, or it did on me at least I was totally immersed into this one all the way.The thing about stories is that they transport you to other places, make you think about other things. When you have a master storyteller at work it becomes so much less about construction and literary merit and all of those bookish things that as a reviewer I’m supposed to be perhaps commenting on – and just becomes about you, as a reader, in those few short moments of time you are living in that other world. Matt Haig is simply, when you remove the white noise, a master storyteller.I loved this book. Just that.Highly Recommended.
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  • Dana Kenedy (Dana and the Books)
    June 27, 2017
    Great read! I can see why the film rights were snatched up before the book has even been released.Review to come soon!
  • Laura
    May 25, 2017
    It's been a very long time - years and years - since I've loved a book so much I wished it was longer. But that's what happened with How to Stop Time - I found myself reading slower at the end because I wanted to eke out as much enjoyment as possible from it. I would have quite liked to stop time then. It is an incredible book.Tom Hazard (only one of his many names) has a very strange condition - he doesn't age, or at least he ages extremely slowly. The few people who know about the condition ca It's been a very long time - years and years - since I've loved a book so much I wished it was longer. But that's what happened with How to Stop Time - I found myself reading slower at the end because I wanted to eke out as much enjoyment as possible from it. I would have quite liked to stop time then. It is an incredible book.Tom Hazard (only one of his many names) has a very strange condition - he doesn't age, or at least he ages extremely slowly. The few people who know about the condition call it anageria; after puberty, people with anageria only age one year for every fifteen years or so they live. Tom was born in 1581 to a wealthy family in France. By 2017, when he is a history teacher in a rough East London school, he has lived quite an eventful life, as you can imagine. He's chatted with Shakespeare, seen Tchaikovsky perform live and drank with F Scott Fitzgerald; but immortality is really not what it's cracked up to be, and Tom is haunted by terrible injustices and lost love. Historically speaking, the world hasn't taken too kindly to people who don't age; casting them as witches or devil-worshippers. The Albatross Society is a secretive organisation run by the millennium-old Hendrich. Its purpose is to protect people with anageria from those who would victimise them and institutions who want to experiment on them and exploit them. The society moves anagerics onto new lives every eight years so they don't arouse suspicion - they are given financial support and the firm advice not to lay down roots and not to love. That's the most important rule: "No falling in love. No staying in love. No daydreaming of love. If you stick to this you'll just about be OK", Hendrich tells Tom.It's against this backdrop that Matt Haig lays out one of the most compelling, absorbing and moving stories I've read in a very long time. We learn about the horrors and joys of Tom's past as well as the loneliness he feels; all of the times he's come so close to the edge but not tipped over; of the deep, grinding exhaustion that comes with a long life:"It occurred to me that human beings didn't live beyond a hundred because they simply weren't up for it. Psychologically, I mean. You kind of ran out. There wasn't enough self to keep going. You grew too bored of your own mind. Of the way life repeated itself. How, after a while, there wasn't a smile or a gesture you hadn't seen before. There wasn't a change in the world order that didn't echo other changes in the world order. And the news stopped being new. The very word 'news' became a joke. It was all just a cycle. A slowly rotating downward one. and your tolerance of human beings, making the same mistakes over and over again, began to fade."Tom's incredible longevity gives him a unique perspective. The book is very up to date, and I particularly liked the apt reflections on modern life:"Places don't matter to people any more. Places aren't the point. People are only ever half present where they are these days. They always have at least one foot in the great digital nowhere"."For decades and decades and decades I have bemoaned people who say they feel old, but I now realise it is perfectly possible for anyone to feel old. All they need to do is become a teacher." (One for all the teachers out there)In all, this is a truly remarkable book and I recommend it to EVERYONE. With thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in return for an honest review
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  • Amber
    March 14, 2017
    Not even published yet, and Benedict Cumberbatch has already signed up to star in a movie based on this book!
  • Joachim Stoop
    January 31, 2017
    Review coming up in about 400 years
  • Karen Cole
    April 12, 2017
    I have been in love only once in my life. I suppose that makes me a romantic, in a sense. The idea that you have one true love, that no one else will compare after they have gone. It’s a sweet idea , but the reality is terror itself. To be faced with all those lonely years after. To exist when the point of you has gone.'The Humans by Matt Haig is the first book I reviewed on Hair Past a Freckle and pretty much the reason why this blog exists. It remains my most recommended book and the one that I have been in love only once in my life. I suppose that makes me a romantic, in a sense. The idea that you have one true love, that no one else will compare after they have gone. It’s a sweet idea , but the reality is terror itself. To be faced with all those lonely years after. To exist when the point of you has gone.'The Humans by Matt Haig is the first book I reviewed on Hair Past a Freckle and pretty much the reason why this blog exists. It remains my most recommended book and the one that means the most to me. It was the book I needed when I most needed books.Four years on and How To Stop Time is Haig's first adult fiction book since The Humans. He's not been quiet in the meantime having written a young adult novel, Echo Boy, a self-help memoir, Reasons to Stay Alive, and two books for children, A Boy Called Christmas and The Girl Who Saved Christmas. Having read them all (as well as his previous novels The Radleys, The Last Family in England, Shadow Forest and The Runaway Troll.) I know a little of what to expect from his books. I don't know if there's an author writing today who is better than Haig at making it seem as if his book is written with you in mind. He has a deep understanding of the human condition and writes with such honesty and clarity that his books become more than just stories, they are beacons of hope in what are troubled times.How To Stop Time continues this theme, again Haig's principal character - in this case Tom Hazard - needs to learn what it means to live. Tom doesn't have any problem staying alive, in fact he's over 400 years old, but forced to move every few years before people become suspicious by his much slower ageing rate ('The speed of ageing among those with anageria fluctuates a little, but generally it is a 1: 15 ratio') and the knowledge that his condition means he is dangerous to become close to has led to a lonely existence. Despite leading what many would consider an extraordinary life, born in 1581, he has spent time with Shakespeare, had a drink with F. Scott Fitzgerald, sailed to the South Sea Islands and watched as mayflies (humans who age naturally, Tom and others like him are albas - short for albatrosses, once thought to live to a great age) have invented bicycles, cars, the telephone, television and the internet, he craves an ordinary life. Now working as a history teacher at a London comprehensive he finds himself drawn to Camille, the French teacher but he knows he should heed the warning from Hendrich, leader of The Albatross Society and facilitator of his new lives every few years - in return for certain 'favours'...‘The first rule is that you don’t fall in love,’ he said. ‘There are other rules too, but that is the main one. No falling in love . No staying in love. No daydreaming of love. If you stick to this you will just about be okay.’Living in London means Tom is surrounded by memories from his long past. How to Stop Time isn't written chronologically, something in Tom's present will remind him of past events and we're transported there. Haig writes so vividly that these scenes are always far more than distant memories. His evocation of the sights, smells and sounds bring Tom's past to life;'It was an area, essentially, of freedom. And the first thing I discovered about freedom was that it smelled of shit. Of course, compared to now, everywhere in or out of London smelled of shit. But Bankside, in particular, was the shittiest . That was because of the tanneries dotted about the place . There were five tanneries all in close proximity, just after you crossed the bridge. And the reason they stank, I would later learn, was because tanners steeped the leather in faeces.As I walked on, the smell fused into others. The animal fat and bones from the makers of glue and soap. And the stale sweat of the crowd. It was a whole new world of stench.' By having a plot with a meandering timeline we are reminded that history isn't just something that happened long ago, we are history too. Tom may use social media now but he recognises how we are linked to the past, how the conflicts, superstitions and oppressive regimes from previous centuries are lessons we never really learn from. He has seen people repeat the same mistakes over and over, the contemporary setting providing a sharp reminder that we still haven't learnt and still allow our differences to divide us.How to Stop Time is a beautiful book, it's not a word I would use often to describe a novel but it's completely charming. From the simple wish to prepare breakfast for a loved one ('Toast. Blackcurrant jam. Pink grapefruit juice. Maybe some watermelon. Sliced. On a plate.') to the description of 19th century New York ('But I looked at the New York skyline and felt like the world was dreaming bigger. Clearing its throat. Getting some confidence.'), to the heartbreaking despair of loss ('I did not know how to be me, my strange and unusual self, without her. I had tried it, of course. I had existed whole years without her, but that was all it had been.') I fell in love with it within the first few pages, it's a book that celebrates the things we all need to make us feel human - music, art, food, love. Haig's writing of what happens inside heads though gives How to Stop Time its heart. He writes with his soul which gives the book a touching honesty and although it may be a fantastical story of a 400 year old man, it's actually telling a universal truth, that life needs to be lived. For all the hurt, the losses along the way, we can't allow fear of grief to prevent us from experiencing the joys of living, to allow ourselves to hope and to love and be loved.Many thanks to the publishers for my advance copy, received through Netgalley in return for this review.
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  • Kerry Bridges
    April 14, 2017
    Tom Hazard is a History teacher in London. He's a pretty good teacher because to him it isn't History - Tom has been alive for centuries. Marion is Tom's daughter. She's also still alive. Tom had to leave her and her mother to keep them safe but it's the greatest regret of his life and Tom will do anything to find Marion alive. After all, there's no point to life if he can't find her. Is there?This is yet another lovely, thought provoking story by the brilliant Matt Haig who, once again, goes ri Tom Hazard is a History teacher in London. He's a pretty good teacher because to him it isn't History - Tom has been alive for centuries. Marion is Tom's daughter. She's also still alive. Tom had to leave her and her mother to keep them safe but it's the greatest regret of his life and Tom will do anything to find Marion alive. After all, there's no point to life if he can't find her. Is there?This is yet another lovely, thought provoking story by the brilliant Matt Haig who, once again, goes right down to the essence of humanity and pulls out what living is "all about". Tom has had a long and fascinating life but it isn't enough; he lost the woman he loved and was then scared to put himself in that position again. The lovely scenes with Camille are what remind us all that the important thing to do is not to spend those times worrying about what will happen in the future and instead to concentrate on what we have right now. Living in the present is the only way.Once again, Matt Haig reminds us what is is to be human. Once again, he's right!
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  • Tereza Dimitrova
    March 20, 2017
    BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH MADE ME DO IT
  • Gem ~ Bee
    May 20, 2017
    A thought-provoking gripping read that takes you on a journey through time, yet consistently looks at the age-,old issues of love, grief & acceptance. A genetic condition means that whilst everyone around him grows up and grows old, Tom Hazard ages much more slowly and had been alive for centuries. The dangers of being different in society doesn't seem to ease over the decades; haunted by tragedy Tom tries to survive each present by moving about, avoiding personal ties and working for a secr A thought-provoking gripping read that takes you on a journey through time, yet consistently looks at the age-,old issues of love, grief & acceptance. A genetic condition means that whilst everyone around him grows up and grows old, Tom Hazard ages much more slowly and had been alive for centuries. The dangers of being different in society doesn't seem to ease over the decades; haunted by tragedy Tom tries to survive each present by moving about, avoiding personal ties and working for a secret society that protects others with the same condition. But Tom learns along his journey that you're never too old to learn the real truth about love and life.Cleverly written with such captivating prose and a brilliance that stays with you even after you finish.
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  • Charlotte
    May 21, 2017
    Matt Haig has done it again with another beautifully written and stylish novel, bringing history to life through his most endearing protagonist to date. This is a love story with a difference. Tom Hazard's considerable age makes him a wise and experienced observer of the world and this narration helps the reader to take a step back and see through his eyes. The poignant social commentary is absolutely relevant and the switching between time frames a sure fire way to prove that attitudes and opin Matt Haig has done it again with another beautifully written and stylish novel, bringing history to life through his most endearing protagonist to date. This is a love story with a difference. Tom Hazard's considerable age makes him a wise and experienced observer of the world and this narration helps the reader to take a step back and see through his eyes. The poignant social commentary is absolutely relevant and the switching between time frames a sure fire way to prove that attitudes and opinions repeat themselves through time. The passion that has gone into this novel is palpable. Haig writes with such honesty and sincerity that on more than one occasion I found myself in tears over his writing. I, and am sure many others will agree with me here, feel like this book understands me completely. I don't often come away from a book and immediately read it again, but How To Stop Time is just so stunning that I couldn't stop myself. In short, a fantastic and moving novel with an ending that will have you filled with joy! Keep writing Matt - the world's a better place with your genius in it!
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  • Sharon
    April 29, 2017
    Actual rating 4.5Review to come
  • Lin
    April 5, 2017
    I will write a longer review, and it will go up on my blog, and I will praise this book as much as it deserves it, but for now I am exhausted and awestruck and this book, this beautiful, beautiful book <3
  • Latkins
    April 2, 2017
    I didn't mean to read this book quite as quickly as I did, but it gripped me and before I knew it I was on the last page - the sign of a good book, I think!It's the story of Tom Hazard, who was born in the 16th century and has lived for more than four hundred years. He's not immortal, he just ages very slowly, and he's not the only one of his kind. In the 19th century he was recruited to be part of a secret society which protects people like him - known as 'albas' - by giving them a new identity I didn't mean to read this book quite as quickly as I did, but it gripped me and before I knew it I was on the last page - the sign of a good book, I think!It's the story of Tom Hazard, who was born in the 16th century and has lived for more than four hundred years. He's not immortal, he just ages very slowly, and he's not the only one of his kind. In the 19th century he was recruited to be part of a secret society which protects people like him - known as 'albas' - by giving them a new identity every eight years... and making sure that anyone who knows about them is killed.Tom's been through a lot of trauma - he still mourns for his first love, Rose, and is desperate to find his daughter Marion, who is an alba like him. Being an alba is dangerous, because people notice after a while that they don't get any older. This can lead to witch-hunts, superstition and persecution. So it's best that they make no attachments to ordinary people - known as mayflies - as it's bound to end badly. And, above all else, they shouldn't fall in love. So Tom knows he's in trouble when he starts a new job teaching history at a London comprehensive, and is immediately drawn to the French teacher Camille. This is a fun story, which is essentially about love and time, and seizing and getting lost in the moment rather than worrying about the past or the future. It's also about standing up to prejudice and not being afraid to be honest about yourself. There are parallels with the film Highlander, and it reminded me quite strongly of Claire North's novel The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August. That was also about a man with an unusual attribute (he lived his same life again and again, remembering each one perfectly), and it also involved a secret society of those who shared his condition. We hear about certain sections of Tom's past - including meeting historical celebrities such as Shakespeare and F. Scott Fitzgerald, so if you're a fan of time-travel-esque tales, I'm sure you'll love this! All in all, an inspiring and uplifting novel.
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  • Moray Teale
    May 28, 2017
    I received a free advance copy of this book in return for an honest and unbiased review.I had high hopes for Matt Haig’s latest novel after being impressed with his honest eloquence and heart in Reasons To Stay Alive and hearing good things about the Humans. The premise in intriguing if not entirely original. Tom Hazard is old. 439 years old to be precise. Born in the 16th century with a condition called anageria which causes the body to age at about 1/15th of the rate of average humans. He has I received a free advance copy of this book in return for an honest and unbiased review.I had high hopes for Matt Haig’s latest novel after being impressed with his honest eloquence and heart in Reasons To Stay Alive and hearing good things about the Humans. The premise in intriguing if not entirely original. Tom Hazard is old. 439 years old to be precise. Born in the 16th century with a condition called anageria which causes the body to age at about 1/15th of the rate of average humans. He has live through Elizabeth I’s Golden Age, the Age of Discovery, the Industrial Revolution - right into the 21st century and the novel centres on the isolation and fatigue caused by long, lonely years. During this time he has met several men and women with the same condition and even joined a society - the Albatross Society - which helps these individuals start new lives when their slow aging draws notice. On the fringes are rumours of a Berlin Institute on the hunt for Albas on whom to experiment…As we join the story Hazard comes to the end of one of his designated eight-year periods in a single place and life. He chooses to return to London as a history teacher in the Tower Hamlets, a noble if misguided choice when he is struggling to keep a lid on centuries of memory. As the story progresses we follow Hazard as he begins his most recent period in London when familiar landmarks (or the lack thereof) have a tendency to spark flashbacks of his earlier years and allow Haig to build the story of his long life. Much of Hazard’s present life is spent ruminating on earlier years. Unfortunately, here is where it simply falls flat. Aside from his mother and his sixteenth-century wife (with whom he has a daughter) Hazard makes virtually no meaningful connections with other people. Rather than focusing on the pleasure and pain of real friendships, loves and losses that are such a vital part of any human life most of Hazards flashbacks revolve around tangential encounters with historical figures; Shakespeare, Captain Cook, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. Apart from being star-struck and receiving some personal advantages through these acquaintances there is no emotional connection with any of them. When a real connection does emerge in the form of a new twenty-first century romance that utterly fails to convince, paper-thin and seemingly instantaneous.The lack of emotional depth and wobbly historicity makes a good part of the novel drag. The structure is repetitive with Hazard giving brief (and oddly random) lessons to his featureless class which seem little more than a convenient and somewhat clunky device to segue into a related flashback to an earlier period of his life. When the action finally does pick up in the last few pages it is terribly predictable and the revelations about two central (and yet barely elaborated) characters fail to surprise or engage. I was left feeling utterly unmoved despite Haig’s compassionate and often prescient observations on history and humanity, there simply wasn’t enough substance to the rest of the story to imbue to instil these with the emotional resonance they deserve. I would really rather read Haig’s Twitter feed.
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  • Annette Jordan
    June 24, 2017
    As a lover of Matt Haig's book The Humans, I was very excited to get my hands on a copy of this. I already knew I would enjoy the writing style, but I did not expect to love the story as much as I wound up doing.How To Stop Time is the story of Tom Hazard, an unusual man, with an incredible tale to tell. To put it simply, Tom has lived many lives, and his experiences in each are wound together to create a remarkable tale. Born in Elizabethan England, he notices that once puberty hits he seems to As a lover of Matt Haig's book The Humans, I was very excited to get my hands on a copy of this. I already knew I would enjoy the writing style, but I did not expect to love the story as much as I wound up doing.How To Stop Time is the story of Tom Hazard, an unusual man, with an incredible tale to tell. To put it simply, Tom has lived many lives, and his experiences in each are wound together to create a remarkable tale. Born in Elizabethan England, he notices that once puberty hits he seems to stop aging, and in an era where magic and witchcraft are widely held beliefs, it is not long before his strange condition begins to draw attention. Forced to flee, he sets out on a path that will take him through the ages, and across continents, encountering several famous faces along the way, and will also result in the single greatest sorrow of all his lives, when he is forced to abandon his wife and daughter for their safety. Although he encounters others who may be like him along the way, its not until the late 19th century that he finds a whole network, who will help him to survive, but at a cost. Moving from the present day to the distant past and back again, the book flows ceaselessly and draws the reader along for the ride. While there may be a certain element of Forrest Gump style gimmickry in having Tom meet several famous historical characters, this really is not the focus of the story. Instead the real heart of the book lies in Tom's relationship with his daughter, his love and fear for her, and his ceaseless attempts to find her once it becomes clear that she shares his condition. A wonderful book, and I thoroughly recommend it. I received a copy for review from NetGalley
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  • Chantelle Hazelden
    April 20, 2017
    What Matt has managed to create is a story that has many different levels of meaning. The story itself switches between the past and the present. We get to see just how Tom has ended up in London, why he musn't fall in love. He is a protagonist that when seen at his worst and at his best, his words feel like they are speaking solely to you, making you question your own existence.But how do you inhabit the now you are in?We are taken on a historical journey, the past literally comes alive across What Matt has managed to create is a story that has many different levels of meaning. The story itself switches between the past and the present. We get to see just how Tom has ended up in London, why he musn't fall in love. He is a protagonist that when seen at his worst and at his best, his words feel like they are speaking solely to you, making you question your own existence.But how do you inhabit the now you are in?We are taken on a historical journey, the past literally comes alive across the pages and it makes you think about how much things have changed over the years, not just technology but humans themselves. With mentions of people like Shakespeare (I would have loved to have met this man), years when witches were believed real, can you imagine being alive long enough to tell us what these times were truly like?Life is ultimately a privilege, so I am among the most privileged people on the planet.Tom is in no way immortal but can appear as though he possesses some sort of power, if he's careful he can live for many centuries but keeping secrets as big as his own can lead to a lonely existence and having experienced love once before in his life Tom knows all to well how great true companionship can really be so can he really stick to that one rule, not to fall in love?The past is not one separate place. It is many, many places, and they are always ready to rise into the present.As with all his previous works, Mr Haig writes with such honesty, the words seeming almost poetic at times and they really draw you in, feeling so much empathy for the characters that you are reading about. How to Stop Time is a tale love, of romance but it is also a tale about finding oneself, learning to navigate through the uncertainty that changes can bring.The time ahead of you is like the land beyond the ice. You can guess what it could be like but you can never know. All you know is the moment you are in.What you come to realise by the end of this book is that we are all part of history, it isn't something that just happened a long time ago, it is something that is forever being created so don't just walk through life with your eyes half open because it is there to be lived and lived well.
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  • Tara Russell
    April 5, 2017
    There's so much to say about this book, and yet it all comes down to one simple sentence: Go read How To Stop Time by the amazing Matt Haig as soon as it is released.Tom Hazard suffers from a condition which means he ages at an incredibly abnormally slow rate. His story follows a dual narrative strand, a modern day storyline where he is working as a history teacher in London, and various scenes from his past, from Elizabethan England to exploration in the South Seas to jazz age Paris. How does a There's so much to say about this book, and yet it all comes down to one simple sentence: Go read How To Stop Time by the amazing Matt Haig as soon as it is released.Tom Hazard suffers from a condition which means he ages at an incredibly abnormally slow rate. His story follows a dual narrative strand, a modern day storyline where he is working as a history teacher in London, and various scenes from his past, from Elizabethan England to exploration in the South Seas to jazz age Paris. How does a person cope with living that long? What happens when Tom lives a normal lifetime, then another, and another? When most people are aging at a normal pace and he isn't?Reading this book was a remarkable experience. I both wanted to keep reading avidly until the end, but also to savour each sentence and make the journey of reading the story last. Even now I've finished, though, the reading voyage resonates. The book as a whole explores the profoundness of being human, and the story and thoughts of Tom are written in such a way as to provide the reader with an accessible insight into the range of human emotions. There's a tenderness about How To Stop Time, a tolerance and acceptance of the frailty of the human mind, the different stages of growth and learning that individuals undergo. And it's a damn good story! Haig's writing distils Tom's story down in a style that is beautifully simple, and resonates with the reader, tapping into the hidden and not-so secret emotions that fill the lives of humans. Thank you to Netgalley, who provided me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.And this review wouldn't be what it is, if I hadn't had some fascinating and involved post-reading conversations with Vicky, as we shared our thoughts when we'd both finished.
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  • Michelle
    May 19, 2017
    A beautifully written story about what it means to live rather than to simply exist. Tom Hazard is over 400 years old and suffers from a condition in which the ageing process slows down to become almost unnoticeable. Tom recounts how he is forced to change his identity to avoid suspicion and the pain he clearly feels in being unable to put down roots and take pleasure in normal everyday relationships. This is a cautionary tale about living your life to the full regardless of what may be around t A beautifully written story about what it means to live rather than to simply exist. Tom Hazard is over 400 years old and suffers from a condition in which the ageing process slows down to become almost unnoticeable. Tom recounts how he is forced to change his identity to avoid suspicion and the pain he clearly feels in being unable to put down roots and take pleasure in normal everyday relationships. This is a cautionary tale about living your life to the full regardless of what may be around the corner - whether you'll live to be 100 years old or 800! Haig's real-life frustrations about the state of the world today and the inability of mankind to learn from its mistakes seep onto the page but in a way that makes us feel hopeful. "There is only the present, I realise now. Continuous and ever-changing and enriching all those other points in life." We may not be able to stop time but we can change how we perceive it. Highly recommended.
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  • Lindsay Seddon
    June 17, 2017
    Matt Haig's writing is a pleasure to read. No effort is required from the reader and it is so well written.The problem was that I never really had the urge to pick it up. I kept thinking that the story had so much potential which was never fully utilised. The main character is over 400 years old and yet only a few moments in all of time is talked about. But on the other hand I was also pleased that not too many famous figures were wedged in for the sake of it. Plots like this can fall victim to Matt Haig's writing is a pleasure to read. No effort is required from the reader and it is so well written.The problem was that I never really had the urge to pick it up. I kept thinking that the story had so much potential which was never fully utilised. The main character is over 400 years old and yet only a few moments in all of time is talked about. But on the other hand I was also pleased that not too many famous figures were wedged in for the sake of it. Plots like this can fall victim to historical name-dropping.The ending was a bit of a rush. There was so much build up that I convinced myself before I finished that this book was the first in a series. It is worth a read, it's very enjoyable, but don't expect more than that.
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  • Vicky
    April 5, 2017
    Tom Hazard is old, really old. A rare condition means he ages incredibly slowly; he has been alive for centuries. He lives by a set of rules including not staying in one place for too long and never getting too close to us 'mayflies'. But can you really live your life in isolation? I love Matt Haig's books and this didn't disappoint. How to Stop Time will stay with me for a while. I raced through it and was sad to reach the end. Haig draws such human, sympathetic characters that, despite the fan Tom Hazard is old, really old. A rare condition means he ages incredibly slowly; he has been alive for centuries. He lives by a set of rules including not staying in one place for too long and never getting too close to us 'mayflies'. But can you really live your life in isolation? I love Matt Haig's books and this didn't disappoint. How to Stop Time will stay with me for a while. I raced through it and was sad to reach the end. Haig draws such human, sympathetic characters that, despite the fantastical element to the story, you can't help but identify with them. I often found myself highlighting passages when his words resonated with me; Tom's struggles are my struggles, his hopes are mine. It's as if Haig can see into my soul. I'm sure other readers will feel the same way. With a touch of mystery and drama, the narrative flows well as we move back and forth from the present to the past, garnering clues as to how Tom has come to be the man he is over 400 years of existence. Ultimately, it is a book about finding and accepting yourself, and allowing others to accept you too. I hope I can follow in Tom Hazard's footsteps.
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  • Chrissie
    June 21, 2017
    This is such a different read ,how would you feel if you did not age and lived for centuries? It must be good and bad as the only rule is you must'nt fall in love .Tom was born in 1581 and has only loved once which broke his heart .This is a truly remarkable book beautifully written and a brilliant story proving that no matter how long we live we need to live for the now.
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  • Susan
    April 6, 2017
    Fantastic premise and can see why it has been snapped up as a film, however I didn't love it which I thought I would. could not really immerse myself in it.
  • Joy
    April 7, 2017
    How to Stop Time was an absolutely brilliant book, with an innovative story line and some very interesting and unique characters, this book kept me riveted from start to finish.
  • Bev
    April 23, 2017
    Tom is old - not just a little bit old, but hundreds of years old - and yet he looks as if he is in his forties. He is working as a History teacher which is pretty easy for him as he has actually lived through the events he tells his students about. Matt Haig's writing is as beautifully contemplative as in his previous books. The story is full of introspection, love and fear of exposure and I enjoyed every minute of reading it. It's quite a gentle book in some ways and left me wanting to hug my Tom is old - not just a little bit old, but hundreds of years old - and yet he looks as if he is in his forties. He is working as a History teacher which is pretty easy for him as he has actually lived through the events he tells his students about. Matt Haig's writing is as beautifully contemplative as in his previous books. The story is full of introspection, love and fear of exposure and I enjoyed every minute of reading it. It's quite a gentle book in some ways and left me wanting to hug my family and enjoy every minute I get to spend with them.
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  • Sam Missingham
    April 28, 2017
    A brilliant story and beautifully written. Loved itI happily recommend any and all books by Matt Haig :)
  • Kieran Sangha
    June 24, 2017
    Imagine, for a second, that you were different to everyone else. To others, you may seem like a rather ordinary forty year old, but the reality is you're closer to four hundred and ninety. This is the problem of Tom Hazard, the protagonist of Matt Haig's incredible new novel How to Stop Time. Tom suffers from a rare condition that has caused him to be alive for centuries, ageing one physical year every fifteen years. Always on the move to avoid suspicion, Tom now works in a secondary school as Imagine, for a second, that you were different to everyone else. To others, you may seem like a rather ordinary forty year old, but the reality is you're closer to four hundred and ninety. This is the problem of Tom Hazard, the protagonist of Matt Haig's incredible new novel How to Stop Time. Tom suffers from a rare condition that has caused him to be alive for centuries, ageing one physical year every fifteen years. Always on the move to avoid suspicion, Tom now works in a secondary school as a history teacher, but the one rule he is told never to break keeps making itself known; never fall in love. The joyous quality with Matt Haig is that he truly understands the human soul. He really captures the full scale of emotion that comes from living a long, and, at times, bleak life, but is written with such an ordinary flair, how even Tom's unusual condition is written in the most ordinary way, but that only strengthens the novel, as we, the ordinary people, can happily resonate. Tom throughout his many centuries of living, comes into contact with many famous figures of history, from Shakespeare to F.Scott Fitzgerald, but never feels like a purposeful name drop, these encounters feel so realistic and well crafted that you could believe that they may have actually happened. I was struck with awe on how well Haig gave Shakespeare a voice that was so fitting in what I thought Shakespeare may have actually been.The structure is told in a mixture of current day narration, with extracts from particular years spanning over centuries. It never feels confusing or disjointed, as past and present fuse together to shape the overall story Haig is telling, and is accentuated by Tom's noting of the differences in the places he has visited before. London is described as a bustling, crowd roaring circus that stinks of shit at one point before becoming noticeably absent and morbid. These descriptions only accentuate Tom's overbearing sadness and loneliness and you really capture the essence of how horrifically long his life is. But the beauty of this, is the deep philosophical themes that weave throughout the book, are ones we have all pondered upon at one point or another. Sometimes we question the very value of life, and whether we waste it flippantly or not, and Haig toys with this at many points in the novel. Tom openly talks about his desire at one point to commit suicide, but the thought of his missing daughter prevented him from doing so, and this is told in such lucid, beautiful prose. The meaning of life is often a question that can never truly be answered but Haig does his very best through Tom's complex, sad life; by bearing his cross of living for many years, he can still get through each day by thinking of his daughter. From this you come away from the book truly thankful for the life you have, and in wake of the awful tragedy in Manchester, makes you appreciate everything in life you have today, as it could be gone tomorrow. Haig's writing is equally as funny as it is charming and touching, his craftsmanship of language is so admirable as he can make you laugh one moment ("Every era is clogged with Martins, and they're all dickheads.") to then breaking your heart within a few sentences. To reiterate, the ordinary-ness of Tom's character and his situation (though it most definitely extraordinary) makes him, and his story, so utterly believable that you feel like you have lived alongside him and his many lifetimes. I only wish the ending hadn't been so rushed, as I felt the last three chapters or so raced along a little frenetically to try and tie things up, such as the introduction to some very important characters, as the rest of the story flowed in such a beautiful way and it felt jarring. Written with such fluidity, charm and heart-breaking emotion, How to Stop Time is a novel that will encourage you to let go from all the darkness in the world and truly appreciate the art of living your life. Full of wisdom, empathy and philosophical ideas, this is Matt Haig's best work yet.
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  • Hazel
    June 29, 2017
    This eBook was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review All the world’s a stage/And all the men and women merely players/They have their exits and their entrances/And one man in his time plays many parts …How to Stop Time is British author Matt Haig’s latest novel, and a very interesting one it is, too. In the present day, Tom Hazard is a 40-something-looking man who has landed himself with the position of history teacher at a comprehensive school in Tower Hamlets This eBook was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review All the world’s a stage/And all the men and women merely players/They have their exits and their entrances/And one man in his time plays many parts …How to Stop Time is British author Matt Haig’s latest novel, and a very interesting one it is, too. In the present day, Tom Hazard is a 40-something-looking man who has landed himself with the position of history teacher at a comprehensive school in Tower Hamlets. Despite not having any formal training, Tom is the perfect candidate for the position because, despite his looks, he is 439 years old. But, that is a secret that no one must ever discover.The book jumps back and forth between the current time period and flashbacks to various events during Tom’s extensive past. Born in 1581, Tom has experienced a great part of British history and major events around the world. Constantly changing his name and identification, he moved around the world, switching locations whenever people began to get suspicious of his never-aging body.After a couple of centuries, Tom met a man with the same condition as himself, who revealed that there were many people in the same predicament. Promising to be able to help keep him safe, the stranger coerces Tom into a union called the Albatross Society. There are many rules and conditions to follow, however, the most important advice is to never fall in love. Unfortunately, Tom has already done this.In London 1623, Tom met the love of his life, Rose, who he eventually married and with whom he had a daughter. Although Tom does age, it is at the rate of one year every 15; therefore he eventually had to leave his family in order to keep them safe. However, his daughter Marion has inherited his condition and Tom spends his subsequent years trying to find her. With promises to help him on his quest, Tom reluctantly joins the Albatross Society, despite their questionable ways.All Tom wants is to be able to lead a normal life, yet the narrative reveals how impossible this has been, both in the past and now in the present. From Elizabethan England to Elizabeth II’s reign, Tom lives through several monarchs, wars, colloquial changes, industrialisation, sanitisation of comestibles, and the introduction of digital technology. Without the added pressure of keeping his true identity disguised, it is very interesting to experience historical events through the eyes of the protagonist. The ending, unfortunately, does not quite satisfy the growing excitement and interest of the rest of the novel. Important things happen too quickly, making it confusing to understand the main storyline. The majority of the story appears to only be setting the scene for the final couple of chapters, but as this is so fascinating, there cannot be too much complaint.Presuming that Haig has done his research and that the historical periods are factually correct, How to Stop Time is as educational as it is entertaining. History lovers will enjoy reading about famous people such as Shakespeare and Charlie Chaplin, as well as getting an insight into the daily lives of past societies. Most importantly, Tom is a captivating character, who, despite having lived for four centuries, is still as socially awkward as the best of us. How to Stop Time contains a fantastic concept about the progression of time and aging, but its most poignant point is the emphasis on finding and being you. Change is an inevitable certainty, as witnessed by Tom whose current world looks nothing like his memories. Although people must adapt to the on-going changes, living how you want is more important than adjusting to fit in with everyone else. In essence, do not be afraid to let the world see your true self.
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  • Kirsty Hanson
    May 8, 2017
    If you haven't seen the books, How to Stay Alive or The Humans by Matt Haig floating around BookTube, the blogosphere or just anywhere, where have you been? I have not read either books, but I know that Matt Haig is an author who is greatly admired within the book community. When I was given the opportunity to read How to Stop Time, I jumped at the chance to read this book, and oh what a wonderful book it was!Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret.He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing t If you haven't seen the books, How to Stay Alive or The Humans by Matt Haig floating around BookTube, the blogosphere or just anywhere, where have you been? I have not read either books, but I know that Matt Haig is an author who is greatly admired within the book community. When I was given the opportunity to read How to Stop Time, I jumped at the chance to read this book, and oh what a wonderful book it was!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.I didn't think that I would like this book at first. The novel starts off by introducing us to the character of Tom, a man who is over four-hundred years old. From the synopsis, it gives off the feel of a romance novel... It is and it isn't. The main focus - for me - wasn't romance; it was travelling through time and experiencing different periods of history. It was just absolutely fascinating to be able to read about the jazz age, meeting Shakespeare and Scott Fitzgerald... Who wouldn't want to read about those times? Of course, the romance was adorable to read and I really felt the heartbreak that Tom would feel over the years.The characters were also brilliantly written. There were characters that I loved and characters that I loved to hate, that of Hendrich. He was awful! I get that he was just trying to keep the Albas safe, and make sure that they were never found out, but jeez... He was just horrible, and especially at the end! He finally shows his true colours and I just wanted to punch him in the face. He angered me so much! Just let Tom live in peace, let him live how he wants to; I just wanted him to be okay... "The longer you live, the more you realise that nothing is fixed. Everyone will become a refugee if they live long enough. Everyone would realise their nationality means little in the long run. Everyone would see their worldviews challenged and disproved. Everyone would realise that the thing that defines a human is being a human."- Matt Haig, How to Stop Time I feel like this is a book that will give something different to each reader. For me, this book told me that I should do things for me, and not anyone else. I shouldn't have to do certain things just to please someone. If they don't like the way that I live, then that doesn't matter. This was an important lesson for me to learn through this book because I am always doing things to please other people and not myself. Matt Haig is an absolutely brilliant author who captures what it's like to be human perfectly. He conveys the beauty and the horror of living, how nasty humans can be, but also how understanding and beautiful they are; how accepting they are and I feel like this is the perfect novel to read during the difficulty of the present day world. This is a book that explores the beauty of human life and the things that we take for granted: music, art, love, family, and most of all, the world.I cried when I finished this book. I cried at the beauty of it. And when I finished reading the last word, I turned back to the first page and started to read it again.Disclaimer: this book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest reviewReleased 6th July
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