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How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

How to Stop Time

by Matt Haig

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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6063822,926 (3.81)32

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Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
Tom Hazard was born in England in the mid 1500's. He is 400 plus years old and lives in fear that he will be found out. Due to his oddity, he is described as an albatross by Heinrich who is the founder of the Albatross Society in the mid 1800's to protect "Albas" from being found out by the general population or Mayflies ( normal lived people) therefore on the move every 8 years. We experience Tom though his fear and flashbacks to the one time when he was happy with a wife and child, Marion who is like him an Albas. We meet Shakespeare, and wander the streets of old and modern London with Tom. Our lesson, should we live in fear or embrace life and every moment? ( )
  bblum | Aug 12, 2018 |
The plot formula is clear, based on a time-spanning conceit and an intended suspense, but this reader wasn't gripped. Characters and motives are somehow sterile, and the supposed breakthrough they arrive at feels less than profound. Even the dog seems sketchy. The author's breezy voice is likeable enough to get one through to the end, but without much that convinces. ( )
  eglinton | Aug 10, 2018 |
I picked this because I thought it was time travel. It’s actually not. The story is unique and I thoroughly enjoyed the stroll through history with the main character. ( )
  melanieklo | Jul 25, 2018 |
Not a ROMCOM !

I generally dislike “fantasy” fiction, though I have a difficult time describing exactly what I mean by that. So I rely mainly on examples to get my point across. A young girl is murdered and her spirit observes the earthly events following her demise; the spirit impacts subsequent events. An action hero walks into a bar on a distant planet and is confronted by a belligerent patron with three heads, while a 1200 pound frog like creature sits in a corner sipping his martini. Time travel is rife with more examples. But I’m also a romantic at heart so sub-consciously I seem to always be on the lookout for a fantasy that works. I’ve read two earlier Matt Haig books and I found them just OK, two and three star efforts. Recently, I wanted something very different from my usual crime fiction/history/bio/memoir/politics mix so I thought I’d give “How To Stop Time” (HST) a shot.

Our HST hero, narrator Tom Hazard, was born March 3, 1581 and he is still alive today; he appears to be in his early 40’s. Yes, Tom ages very slowly, and while this first appears to be a good thing, it does present problems over the years. After all, friends and neighbors will notice at some point that he doesn’t seem any older than he did eight years ago when they first met. When Tom was just a kid, witchcraft in his family was suspected, and we know what they did to witches. In some respects things haven’t improved much for those with his condition over the centuries – imagine what a guinea pig he would become today. So Tom can only survive through the ages by becoming a rolling stone, and eight years seems to be about the critical point to move on. Obviously a story with all kinds of flashback opportunities.

Over the years, Tom comes to realize that he is not the only one blessed/afflicted with this condition. There is even a secret society, and their first goal is to survive within ever-changing communities. The society has one rule – never fall in love. Though not stated as such there is a second rule and that is never tell anyone of your condition because you will endanger all other albas. Now don’t assume like I did that this story morphs into some nice sweet little romance. Ninety percent of this 331 page novel is how Tom survives over the centuries. But the anchor timepoint of HST is today, and slowly the story keeps coming back to today. Tom has just taken on a new job as a history teacher (a natural position, right? After all, he knew Shakespeare personally!) and he is soon attracted to a young lady colleague.

On the rare occasions that I have read “fantasies”, I have often become frustrated by holes in the story, mostly points where the story v. reality gap becomes enormous and distracting. To really make a story like HST work requires a ton of unusual plotting and other work on the part of the author. Haig has done that with this story and hats off to him for it. HST works. So, why not five star? Is there a message? Yes, but nothing that blew me away. Secondly, the story occasionally slowed down for me. I thought it would have benefitted from a bit more excitement, or tension. There is one such scene with Tom as a young boy, but I would have been more tightly engaged with the book had there been at least one other similar episode. I just noted this will be a movie with Benedict Cumberbatch which strikes me as perfect casting. Hopefully the movie people won’t add seven more adventure scenes. ( )
  maneekuhi | Jul 24, 2018 |
This is the story of Tom Hazard a 41 year old History Teacher at an East London Secondary School, Tom is actually over 400 years old.
He has a disease called Anageria which makes him age 15 times slower than normal people.
There are a few hundred people around the world who have this condition. They live in secret and have to move on every 8 years.

Tom is tired of running although he really wants to find his daughter Marion who has the same condition.

Hendreich the leader of the Albatross society who looks after all the people with Anageria sends Tom on missions to convert others.
Tom goes to Australia to track down an old friend called Sol.
Tom then meets his daughter Marion there how was going to shoot him.
They sort out their differences and keep in touch.

Tom also falls in love with a teacher called Camille they move to France were they live together Camille is pregnant.
Good book this bit different. ( )
  Daftboy1 | Jul 16, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Matt Haigprimary authorall editionscalculated
Meadows, MarkNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Riddell, ChrisIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I often think of what Hendrich said to me, over a century ago, in his New York apartment.
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Eternally young, longing for true connections. I can trust no one. (PeggyDean)

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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 has 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 behavior 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. How to Stop Time is a bighearted, wildly original novel about losing and finding yourself, the inevitability of change, and how with enough time to learn, we just might find happiness.… (more)

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