Book Review – How To Stop Time

How To Stop Time by Matt Haig (Canongate) ISBN: 9781782118626

Book Review – How To Stop Time

How To Stop Time is all about what it means to be a human being. The author of Reasons To Stay Alive explores this through the telling of Tom Hazard’s tale.

Tom looks 40, but he is really 408-years-old. He has progeria, a condition that causes him to age about 10 times more slowly than everybody else. He is a troubled man, having lost everything and everyone he’s ever loved. Even the existence of others like him doesn’t help. He has to move every eight years and falling in love is not an option.

The story is told through Tom’s life in modern-day England and in flashbacks to various times in his life over the past 400 years. He has met some interesting historical characters, including Shakespeare, Ernest Hemingway, and Captain Cook.

But it is his memories of Rose that haunt him. He fell in love with Rose in England in 1599, and they had a daughter, Marion. People think he is cursed and his mother was killed because of him. He has to leave his family so that people stop threatening him – and them.

Now, he is back in London and teaching at a school where he meets Daphne, a French teacher. Can he risk feeling anything again?

The novel is incredibly readable. It is Matt Haig’s user-friendly treatise on the human condition and I highly recommend it.

Amanda Patterson

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How to Stop Time by Matt Haig (Canongate) ISBN 9781782118626

When someone says they are forty, it does not seem old, but when someone looks forty but is really 439 years old, that’s a whole different story.

This is the story of Tom who has a rare condition where he only ages every 15 years. This has led to many tragedies in his life including his mother’s demise. He has to move every 8 years so nobody gets suspicious about his lack of ageing as the superstitious believe it is witchcraft and science has not proved its existence as a condition so people are afraid of what they do not know.

Tom has so many interesting life experiences, including meeting famous people from long ago, but the best time of his life was when he was married to Rose and they had a daughter, Marion. He had to leave them to protect them from suspicious neighbours. He has not managed to find Marion for centuries as she has the same condition as him.

This is a fascinating read, with many philosophical questions about time, love, integrity and hope. It is not typically science fiction but is related to that genre. Highly recommended.

Amanda Blankfield-Koseff

Posted on: 27th September 2017