How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

How to Stop Time Book Cover How to Stop Time
Matt Haig
Contemporary, some elements of Sci-fi
2017
Hardcover
325

Tom Hazard has what you might call a medical condition, though not really an illness. He doesn't age like other people do. He only ages a year for every 10 or 15 years of ordinary people - he has lived for 439 years but doesn't look a day over 40. He, and the few others like him, live by other rules to ordinary people, and the number one rule is not to fall in love. Tom fell in love once four centuries ago and it didn't end well. He knows not to fall in love again. Except love is something you cannot control...

 

This is the second book I’ve read by Matt Haig this month, the first being The Humans which was possibly the best book I’ve read this year. How to Stop Time is another very good book, and like The Humans, it uses a science fiction plot device to tell a more mainstream story. I like stories like this that have long timescales and plenty of history in them. Part of the story is set when he is a young man in Elizabethan England, part of it in the present day where he is a history teacher in London, and parts are in other time periods in between as the book tells the story of his life. The story alternates between the present and the past, in a way that could get confusing but works really well.

The book reminds me of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, and also a bit of The Time Traveler’s Wife in that it features various different time periods and features characters for whom time does not work in the usual way, and if you like either of those books, you will probably like this too. Overall, I didn’t think this was quite as good as the author’s earlier book The Humans. Both books have as a theme what it means to be human, and how to live well, but the theme in this book was lighter and much more subtle, whereas The Humans was positively brimming with really insightful stuff on how to live etc. Still a very good book however, and worthy of five stars.

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