• Steve Haywood

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

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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