Friday, 21 April 2017

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig April Book of the Month

Matt Haig is an author that I have come to admire. After reading Reasons to Stay Alive earlier this year I knew when I heard about his latest release How to Stop Time that I just had to read it. And it seems it was fate Netgalley because gave me the chance to do just that and now this novel has become my April book of the month.


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.

Now you know a story must be good when Bennedict Cumberbatch signs up to star in the film before the novel has even been officially released. This is the story of Tom Hazard, a seemingly normal 41 year old man, except well he's really not. Because you see Tom is actually over 400 years old, plagued with a rare condition that means that he ages at a much slower rate to any normal human, 1 year for every 15 of our years.


We know what we are, but know not what we may be.

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. 

It is clear. In those moments that burst alive the present lasts forever and I know there are many more presents to live.
How to Stop Time is a story that will be with you long after you've read the final pages. It is charming, thought provoking, inspiring and up-lifting. A must read!


8 comments:

  1. This book sounds brilliant, I'm really intrigued now you make it sound like a real page turner x

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  2. What a fascinating book review. You've got me wanting me to read it now Chantelle. I've heard of Haig before and this sounds like a good one to add to my 'pile'. #pocolo

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  3. I loved Matt Haig's 'The Boy Who Saved Chrsitmas' and found 'Reasons to Stay Alive' fascinating but I didn't know he had an adult fiction book coming out - I'll be keeping an eye out for it! #readwithme

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  4. We couldn't put Matt Haig's 'The Boy Who Saved Christmas' down but I haven't read any of his adult novels. This story sounds really intriguing :)

    #ReadWithMe

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  5. This sounds good. I haven't ready any Matt Haig yet but do have two waiting on the shelf

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  6. Well, you sold this book to me. And it has a gorgeous cover.
    Have added it to my never-ending TBR list.
    Thanks for the great review
    #readwithme

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  7. This has been added to my TBR list, it sounds like a book I'd really enjoy :)

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  8. Ooh intriguing! Adding to my to-read list. :)
    Thanks for linking to #pocolo

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