Day 14, Jan 14: Book Review “How To Stop Time”


Background/plot:

A 479 year old man moves – again – in order to protect himself and those in the Albatross Society, but he’s had enough. Having loved and lost over all that time, he is tired of living among the “mayflies” who live a normal lifespan. Will he ever find Marion?

Who are the main characters?

The main protagonist is Tom Hazard, although over the course of his lifetime he has had many names. I don’t want to give the plot away by describing any of the other characters, but look out for Rose, Marion, Grace, and Hendrich.

Where is it set?

This book has scenes located all around the world and in different eras, but the “now” time is in London in the present day.

My thoughts on the book

I absolutely loved this book! The premise is that Tom has unusual genes which means he ages very, very slowly. Being born just before the advent of the 16th Century witch trials, Tom was unlucky enough to have had his gift spotted by the locals and being the loving, caring and enlightened people like we are in the 21st Century, Tom realises that it is dangerous to stay in one place for too long.

The book itself is beautifully plotted and paced, and most importantly for me, it has a proper ending. All too often, well-told stories like this end badly, with a rushed denouement or an unbelievable twist that ruins it, but I’m so glad that this one has a good ending that kept me wondering “what next” every paragraph of the last chapter.

As with the last book I read of Matt Haig’s – The Midnight Library – there was lots in the text that made me stop and think. It raises questions about the value of love, about judgement of others, and the human desire we all have of wanting to belong.

Will I read the next in the series?

I don’t think there will be another in this series, but I will definitely be reading more by Matt Haig. This is the second of his that I’ve read now, and both of them have been intelligently written, thought-provoking and have lasted in my consciousness long after I finished reading.

Would I recommend it to my friends?

Yes, absolutely. It would appeal to anyone who likes to have their thinking stretched a little, and anyone who loves a good story that is well written.

Quote from the book:

I don’t usually share passages from books that I read, but this particular passage has stayed with me since I read it and it gives you a little flavour of the quality of writing in this story.

She stops, right then Points through the trees. There is a deer. It turns and looks at us, holding our gaze for a moment, before darting away. Abraham tugs on the lead half-heartedly.

‘I don’t know what will happen,’ Camille says, staring at the space where the creature had been. ‘I don’t know if I will make it through the afternoon without having a seizure. Who knows anything?’

‘Yes. Who knows?’

I keep staring between the trees at the air that had been inhabited by the deer and realise it is true. The deer isn’t there, but I know it had been there and so the space is different than it would otherwise have been. The memory made it different.

I urge you read this, it’s fantastic!

2 thoughts on “Day 14, Jan 14: Book Review “How To Stop Time”

  1. Andy Macrow

    I agree with your assessment. This is a terrific read.

    Robert Heinlein wrote some interesting books about long-lived people. I found Methusulah’s Children quite interesting as it deals with the problems that arise when the populace in general discover their long-lived fellows. Not a great book by any means, but worth a read.

    Like

    1. Thanks Andy. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one and thought at first it might be another time traveller story, so it was a pleasant surprise to find it was about long-lived people. What I particularly liked was that some of the prose was quite poetic. It inspired me to get myself a copy of Montaigne’s Essays… let’s see if it lives up to expectation!

      Like

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