There is a poignancy to Matt Haig’s riveting new novel, How To Stop Time, that almost seems to gently seep from the pages and gather, like a fine mist, around you.
I’ll be honest and tell you that, at the moment, I’m quite a lazy reader (see sleep deprivation). I don’t want to work too hard for my entertainment – and reading a book where the story is one thing but you know that it’s clearly about something else, something much bigger, probably wouldn’t be my first choice.
In Matt’s case, though? I’d be willing to do hard labour.
Not that this book feels like a difficult read; the story flows easily and the only thing hard about it is putting it down. His prose is beautiful and honest and while it feels wrong to say I enjoyed it when the story made my heart ache, I was charmed by it.
I can completely understand why the film rights were snapped up so quickly.
Here’s the blurb:
‘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.
This is Matt’s first book for adults in four years. One of the things I’ve always enjoyed about his writing is that he not only seems to have an innate understanding of humanity but he can translate that to the page, for whatever audience he is writing for, in a way that is so vivid.
The story switches between past and present and, if I didn’t know better, I would think he had experienced those different historical periods in person because he made it so visual (has he just given himself away?)
I’m not going to say too much more because I think its one of those books where people will take different things from it – and I don’t want my experience to influence yours.
I will say that if you’re not already a fan of Matt Haig, you will be after reading How To Stop Time.
My rating: Four stars.
With thanks to Canongate Books (via NetGalley) for the ARC in return for my honest review.
9 thoughts on “Book Review: How To Stop Time.”
I am in the midst of reading this book myself Tara and I am enjoying it. It is actually the first book by Matt Haig that I have ever read and I have wanted to read one of his books for a long time. Many thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Oh brilliant, I can’t wait to hear what you think too.
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This sounds like a book I would enjoy, I like the idea behind it. I’ve not read Matt Haig before so I would like to see what you mean about his beautiful prose. I think it’s definitely one for my reading list, thanks.
I hope your list isn’t as long as mine, hehe. I need to start making a dent in it.
I have not read anything by Matt Haig but you have really sold this author to me. It sounds like an interesting and imaginative read and I think I must try it. #MMBC
Thanks for your kind comment. I really hope you like it.
I’ve read and enjoyed some of Matt’s children’s books but have never got around to reading his adult novels. This does sound like my kind of novel, I’ll put it on my summer wishlist :o) Thanks for a great review!
This sounds a really good read. I’ve not come across any of Matt Haig’s before. I really do need to make more time to sit down with a good book and a cuppa!
Thanks for sharing with #MMBC. Hope to see you Monday x
Hi Tara, this book does sound like an interesting read. I do make time to read a little every night before I go to bed, in fact, I can’t sleep if I don’t even though sometimes it’s only a coupe pf pages.I will add this to my Amazon wish list.