“It was like being stuck in the same song, with a chorus you had once liked but now made you want to rip your ears off.”
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.
I bought this book as soon as I heard Benedict Cumberbatch was going to play Tom Hazard in the movie. I was intrigued after reading its synopsis — after all, this is a topic not every author can handle well.
The most fascinating thing about books is that, anytime you think a topic has been used far too many times, someone comes up with a different way to present the idea. Which is why I truly enjoyed Matt Haig’s story about a man who ages really really slowly.
The book, divided into five parts, presents Tom’s story in tiny snippets of his entire life. We get to see him as a child and we are able to understand what led him to how he is now. But Tom is neither a bad person nor a good one — he is just someone who is trying to live his abnormally prolonged life. And so for me, his story was much more interesting than his character. When you read the book, you may even find Tom’s encounters with a lot of famous people a bit unrealistic.
But since it’s fiction, and the scenes are written really well, I enjoyed reading those parts. One beautiful addition to this book was the poem written by Camille. It’s not a spoiler but just a piece of art that certainly deserves appreciation.
That when you
On their side
A long way
The reason why I took back one star from the review was because of the ending. It all happened too fast and seemed like a far-stretched coincidence. Another thing I expected from the book was a better explanation of the rare condition anageria. In a way, the story had more potential if the author had not been in a hurry to wrap things up.
How To Stop Time is a book that takes you through different timelines and describes time exactly as it is — uncontrollable. Matt Haig is successful in combining the real and the fictional world to present a story worth reading.
What did you think of the book? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!