Book Review- How to Stop Time

Thursday, 13 July 2017
Title: How to Stop Time
Author: Matt Haig
Published: 6th July 2017
Pages: 304
Genre: Fiction, Historical

Rating: 5/5 stars

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.
How to Stop Time is a wild and bittersweet story about losing and finding yourself, about the certainty of change and about the lifetimes it can take to really learn how to live. -Goodreads

My thanks for the review copy I received from Net Galley and Canongate Books in return for an honest review.
This novel has already been snatched up to be a movie featuring Benedict Cumberbatch, and having read it I can absolutely see why it would make a great movie!
You can get an idea what the novel is about from the blurb above, but basically it involves a 439 year old called Tom, who ages extremely slowly, meaning he only looks to be in his 40s due to a condition called Anageria.
I absolutely loved this novel, and one of the big reasons was the different historical times and figures that Tom meets and experiences, and the way that Haig brings them to life on the page. Tom's meeting with a certain famous 1920s author was a particular favourite of mine!!
This novel has moments of serious action, but there are also long periods where there is limited action because this novel also spends a great deal of time pondering life and death, and what it really means to live. So, if you're looking for an action packed and fast paced novel this probably won't fit the bill. But, this novel will make you think. It's a powerful and deep narrative about life and living, and the inherent differences between the two. 
I felt a lot of sympathy for Tom, to see everyone around you grow old and die when you remain young would be emotionally and mentally very tough. I also hadn't really considered the difficulties that not ageing would pose in general life, but of course if you don't age people would grow suspicious. Tom has to move every 8 years so people don't grow suspicious, and this sounded like a very lonely and isolated existence, and Haig conveys this loneliness and sadness well in his writing, I could really feel it through the pages.
I have never read any of Haig's writing before, but after reading this novel I am definitely going to get my hands on some more. Haig's writing is some of the most powerful and touching I have ever read, he seems to understand human emotions, and be able to put them onto paper with a skill that is almost unbelievable. I gave this novel 5/5 stars, and I would highly recommend it to everyone! 


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