Matt Haig has a way of talking about humans without talking about humans. In The Radleys, our craving and longing to be normal, as told by middle class vampires. In The Humans, the great sorrow of love in all glorious forms, as told by aliens. In How to Stop time, grief everlasting, as told by a very very very old man. That man is Tom Hazard is 436. Here are some facts: he was born 3rd March 1581, he has a condition called Anageria which causes him to age slowly, he is a history teacher in London at the moment. How to Stop Time is the story of his life… well… the highlights or it would be a very long book.
Think of it as an extended version of Forrest Gump. Quite by accident, Tom Hazard finds himself in the company the famous such as Shakespeare but in the tragedies such as witch hunting France. His body ages slowly and his brain can’t cope with the sheer amount of information. Modern day life triggers old memories, causing headaches and heartaches. Everything is not as glamorous as it seems. He has to keep changing his identity with the help of a secret society. Naturally, if you have superhuman abilities, you’re recruited into a secret society.
How to Stop Time is a number of genres in one; science fiction, a love story and a thriller. A little bit of Forrest Gump and a little of Taken; the driving force of the book is Tom wants to find his daughter. He suspects that she has the same disorder as him. They look for her and he looks for others. I’m a huge fan of when a book has a little bit of everything. Keeps things interesting. In Matt Haig’s writing the person is king. The ending felt a little rushed and maybe got too extreme, not of that’s important. The book is Tom Hazard, his struggles and his way of life which is pure magic to read. He meets many interesting characters along the way that are larger than life but their life is large. Cheesy finish. Who cares? Pick it up and get lost among the many centuries of Tom’s life. Nothing gives you perspective like 400 years of hindsight.