A love story across the ages – and for the ages – about a man lost in time, the woman who could save him, and the lifetimes it can take to learn how to live.
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. Tom has lived history–performing with Shakespeare, exploring the high seas with Captain Cook, and sharing cocktails with Fitzgerald. Now, he just wants an ordinary life.
So Tom moves back to London, his old home, to become a high school history teacher–the perfect job for someone who has witnessed the city’s history first hand. Better yet, a captivating French teacher at his school seems fascinated by him. But the Albatross Society, the secretive group which protects people like Tom, has one rule: never fall in love. As painful memories of his past and the erratic behavior of the Society’s watchful leader threaten to derail his new life and romance, the one thing he can’t have just happens to be the one thing that might save him. Tom will have to decide once and for all whether to remain stuck in the past, or finally begin living in the present.
How To Stop Time by Matt Haig
Published February 6, 2018 by Viking
Format: Netgalley* e-book; 336 pages
Science Fiction/Historical Fiction
Also By This Author: The Humans, Reasons to Stay Alive
Goodreads | Amazon | Author’s Website
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥
Have you ever thought about what it would be like to live forever?
For Tom Hazard, having a life expectancy of 1,000 years is practically living forever, especially when he outlives everyone he knows and cares for by centuries. But not only does he live considerably longer than everyone around him, he ages one year for every fifteen years that pass. He can’t stay in one place for more than a decade without attracting unwanted attention. He can’t be seen out in public with his wife without people mistaking him for her son. His life is a lonely curse.
It is also a fascinating life, and I was even more interested in the flashbacks of Tom’s “youth” than the mid-life crisis he was having at the start of the novel. In his nearly 500 years on the earth, Tom has worked for Shakespeare, shared a drink with F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, and sailed to previously undiscovered lands.
There is also heartbreak, anguish, and despair in Tom’s life. Actually, most of his life is a melancholy tale. I can be rather melancholy myself, so I really felt for Tom and his struggles. But if you’re looking for a happy time travel read (do those even exist?), don’t expect that in How to Stop Time. Although there is an optimistic theme overall, there is also the plague, witch hunts, and murder. Plus there is a mysterious society of people like Tom, pressuring him to avoid making any attachments that may endanger the secrecy of his condition.
My only issue with this novel was the antagonist’s story line. I felt it was wrapped up at the end a bit too easily and unrealistically, which left me feeling slightly disappointed considering how suspenseful the rest of the novel had been up until that point. But overall, I was captivated by this novel’s premise and the conflict of its main character.
“That’s the thing with time, isn’t it? It’s not all the same. Some days–some years–some decades–are empty. There is nothing to them. It’s just flat water. And then you come across a year, or even a day, or an afternoon. And it is everything. It is the whole thing.”
You May Also Enjoy:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Timeline by Michael Crichton
Timebound by Rysa Walker
“To talk about memories is to live them a little.”