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.
I was really struck by the eye-catching cover for How to Stop Time and so when I picked it up and read the synopsis I just knew I had to read it. I really loved this book and absolutely raced through it. The writing is so addictive that I honestly couldn’t put it down. I loved the premise of this book, mainly because it was a unique spin on the being who lives for centuries idea. Tom is not immortal, he simply ages slower than the rest of humanity. It’s a rare condition, and this idea makes the book seem all the more believable.
I loved reading about Tom in different time periods, as he interacts with some of those most well known in history, each time period really comes alive and Haig’s writing really brings out the sights, sounds and smells of those periods. I think it’s definitely a mark of a fantastic story and a fantastic writer that each time period is so distinctive and vivid. The book is of course split into two different points, one from Tom’s past as he adapts to live in different periods, and his present day life as a history teacher in London.
This book was really the kind of book that sucked me in for hours on end, and definitely stayed with me after I finished reading it. There’s been plenty of hype about this book, and in this case I can say it is absolutely justified. It’s beautiful and will make you happy and sad in equal measure. Tom is a wonderful protagonist and this is a stunning book. This is my first time reading a book by Matt Haig, but after this whirlwind it definitely won’t be my last.