How to Stop Time – Matt Haig

Published By: Canongate
Pages: 325
Date Released: 06/07/2017

“The first rule is that you don’t fall in love”, he said… “There are other rules too, but that is the main one. No falling in love. No staying in love. No daydreaming of love. If you stick to this you will just about be okay.”

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 ahs 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 behaviour 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.

*****

Anyone that knows me knows how much I absolutely love Matt Haig. I own every book (bar one) he has ever had published. There is nothing I dislike about his writing: his children’s books are fun and smart, his fiction books are poignant and life-affirming, and his non-fiction books are informative but entertaining. He has the magic touch when it comes to writing, and each of his books has, in some way, saved my life.

How to Stop Time is full of heart and soul about what it means to be yourself and what it means to live. We all flirt with the idea of living forever, but what are we living for? Is there any point in living for hundreds of years if your family and friends all die before you, if you cannot fall in love for fear of losing them, if you cannot stay in one place for too long otherwise people will become suspicious? What is the point of living forever if you cannot truly live the life you want? I think I’d rather live 100 years my way, than 500 years always looking over my shoulder.

Matt has an ability to match a huge amount of knowledge with an even bigger heart. You can tell he has lived such a fascinating – albeit sometimes less than perfect – life, and you can tell, deep in his heart, he really cares about each and every one of us. All of his books – and most obviously in How to Stop Time – it is clear that he cares about people. He cares because we mean something. He cares because we have the ability to love and laugh and try and fail and try again. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the world is a much calmer and softer and lovelier place to be in with Matt Haig’s work in it.

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