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How to Stop Time Hardcover – February 6, 2018
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“Matt Haig’s latest book, How To Stop Time, is marvelous in every sense of the word. Clever, funny, poignant, and written with Haig’s trademark blend of crystalline prose and deft storytelling, this is a book that stirs the heart and mind in equal measure. A hugely enjoyable read.” —Deborah Harkness, author of The All Souls Trilogy
"Compelling and full of life's big questions, How To Stop Time is a book you will not be able to put down." —Graeme Simsion, author of The Rosie Project
"Matt Haig has an empathy for the human condition, the light and the dark of it, and he uses the full palette to build his excellent stories." —Neil Gaiman, author of American Gods
"Haig remains a keen-eyed observer of contemporary life. . . his dialogue has snap and charm." —The New York Times
"A wry, intriguing meditation on time and an eternal human challenge: how to relinquish the past and live fully in the present.” —People
“A quirky romcom dusted with philosophical observations….A delightfully witty…poignant novel.” —The Washington Post
"Time is all about the moments, not the space between them. Haig has done a fine job of capturing a few beautiful ones like butterflies in a jar — instants of love or rage or heartbreak. And one of them is even the night that Tom Hazard spent drinking ale with Shakespeare." —NPR
“The central character of the poignant new novel How to Stop Time is 41-year-old Tom Hazard, a man who has been alive for centuries, and who moves every eight years in order to avoid detection. As he settles into a new life in London, he realizes that the one thing that would derail his (very long) life—falling in love—might just be worth it.” —Southern Living
"A time traveling love story… [and] a coming-of-age tale that continues for centuries. It’s The Time Traveler’s Wife meets The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, yet manages to be even more unique.” —HelloGiggles
"How to Stop Time is a clever, beautifully crafted novel about love, history, and the tangled mess that comes with trying to live a human life of any length." —Bustle
"Matt Haig uses words like a tin-opener. We are the tin." —Jeanette Winterson, author of Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?
“Haig has been gifted with a rare ability, which is to make the far-fetched – and even ridiculous – seem believable. His books tickle your mind and tug on your heart, and their pages slip by with beguiling ease. . . How to Stop Time will provoke wonder and delight.” —The Guardian
"But How to Stop Time is also a considered, heartfelt document, as you might expect from an author who wrote an internationally bestselling memoir of depression, Reasons to Stay Alive. It unfolds its secrets carefully: an action-packed but often sad story for slow, long-term thinkers. Wrapped inside this sci-fi school sitcom premise is a poetic manifesto of what really matters in the long run. One that Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg would do well to read." —Mashable
“The lively creativity of Matt Haig continues to delight and enchant readers. In How to Stop Time, he offers a well-drawn cast of vivid characters embroiled in an inventive, fast-paced story that successfully blends fantasy, romance, comedy and adventure.”—Shelf Awareness
"Matt Haig is astounding." —Stephen Fry
"Inventive, exciting, moving and bursting with insight about history, time and what it is to be human." —Kate Williams, author of Becoming Queen Victoria
"I loved How to Stop Time, it’s a beautiful and necessary book. I feel very lucky to have read it. It is magical, intriguing, and at times, very sad. A triumph." —Marian Keyes, author of The Woman Who Stole My Life
"I am in concert with Haig’s fans as I read the book, turning pages for the story but also stopping to underline passages. I want to remember the lines. I want to read out loud to someone. Nothing like a love that lasts 400 years." —Publisher's Weekly
“How to Stop Time is a bittersweet story about the meaning of life.”—Kirkus
"An addictive, time-travelling tale which unfolds at a cracking pace" —The Bookseller, Book of the Month
"An engaging story framed by a brooding meditation on time and meaning." —The Austin American-Statesman
"Full of Haig’s trademark humour and humanity, this is a wonderfully entertaining ride through centuries of adventure. Gloriously heart-warming." —Sunday Mirror
"A story you’ve been longing to read . . . Haig’s proficiency in writing for children has lent a gentleness that cuts to the very heart of this work and its readers." —Evening Standard, "The Best Books to Read This Summer"
"How to Stop Time is a worthy addition to the time-travel canon, hugely entertaining, quietly funny and, at its best moments, contemplative and brooding." —John Boyne, Irish Times
From the Back Cover
How many lifetimes does it take to learn how to live?
Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary forty-one-year-old, but because of a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. From performing with Shakespeare, to exploring the high seas with Captain Cook, to sharing cocktails with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tom has seen a lot. But now, after over four hundred years of reinventing himself to escape detection, he just wants an ordinary life. The only rule he has to follow is Don’t fall in love.
When Tom catches the eye of a captivating woman named Camille at the dog park, everything begins to unravel. Caught between the danger of discovery and the desire to build a real life, Tom learns that the thing he can’t have might just be the thing that saves him.
A wild, bittersweet, time-travelling story, How to Stop Time is about losing and finding yourself, about the certainty of change, about the perils of love, and about the mistakes that humans are doomed to repeat.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The premise sounds rather well-worn and dodgy; Tom Hazard was born in the late 16th century but has a condition which means he ages very slowly, so that by the present day his body is in its early 40s. The first thing to say is that this is emphatically *not* another book about what it might mean to be undead; it is a book about what it really means to be alive. It's a cracking story, beautifully told. We get stories of Tom's life from the time of Shakespeare, of 1920s Paris and so on, interwoven with the present day when he has become a history teacher in a London comprehensive school, close to where he had a dearly-loved wife and daughter 400 years ago. Haig manages this brilliantly and also introduces a tense plot involving a society of people like him which may go to extremes to protect its members.
Tom has an ordinary life in many ways, but experiences far more of it than normal. We see the struggle to decide on a life's course, the pain of loss as those he loves die and the persecution of the "different," for example, and there are well-nuanced questions about what it means to live well; should we choose hedonism and self-preservation, or humanity, love and engagement with others, along with the pain it brings? There is real richness here, and I marked lots of passages which I liked – far too many to quote here. The whole thing is thoughtful and very touching in places but with a lovely sprinkling of wit and wry comments which made me smile (and actually laugh in some places) without ever interfering with the story or the serious points being made. I love the way he writes about love, the way he writes about history, the way he writes about music…and so on, and so on.
It is unusual for me to gush quite so much about a book, but I did think this was exceptionally good. I can recommend it very warmly indeed.
(I received an ARC via Netgalley.)
In the beginning of the book, Tom talks about how he's not like a vampire stuck perpetually in his youth. He is aging. He will die. He CAN die. He's not immortal. But the story is reminiscent, at least to me, of some of the better vampire fiction I've read in the past. Even more so, it reminded me of the television show New Amsterdam starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (of Game of Thrones fame), which only aired for 8 episodes but I LOVED. The whole idea of living for an extremely long amount of time, watching people come and go, places evolve, loves lost and the whole gamut of issues that would arise if you had lived for over 400 years...and knew you were going to live for about 900...are fascinating and this book merely touches on them, and with a flourish that is at times almost poetic.
I think my favorite sections of the book involved the people in the past that Tom interacted with, and then how he tried to weave some of his knowledge into the school lessons he was teaching. I'm a giant Shakespeare nerd, so the section in which he works for Shakespeare was wonderful. Was it historically accurate? I haven't the foggiest, and don't even care a whole lot...it was just entertaining to me! And having drinks with Fitzgerald?!? So lovely, and in my head Fitz was totally Hiddles. (If you haven't watched Midnight in Paris, you need to!!)
Yes, there is a bit of a love story...but it wasn't sappy or overwhelmingly emotional. I feel like the real love story here involved Tom and Life in general. The book really was all about Tom figuring out how he wanted to live all of these years that he's been given. Did he want to just go through the paces and saunter along in a fog? Or did he want to open himself up to new and exciting possibilities, and put himself out there again?
A quick and enjoyable book. Science-Fiction with some historical aspects. I enjoyed the author's writing style, which has an almost poetic flourish. I definitely recommend it!