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Book Review: How to Stop Time by Matt Haig 

Humans desire long lives but aren’t even aware of the result. For instance, have you ever wondered what it would be like if you lived for centuries? So “How To Stop Time by Matt Haig” is the novel I am reviewing this time can tell you that it may not be as fun as you think. The main character in the novel is slowly ageing, and That is the main point of the novel that you may not expect and the least likely to believe. 

The memoir How to Stop time tells the story of a man lost in time trying to learn how to live despite his rare illness, the woman who could save him, and his life to learning how to live. It is an enjoyable look at history in which the main character contemplates his life and his encounters with historical figures, including Shakespeare. He also finds out that he has a chance to live happily today at the end of his lonely life.

“How to Stop Time,” published in 2017, is the story of a man who travels through time and appears to be 40 but, in reality, has lived more than 400 years and has met Shakespeare, Captain Cook and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Would you find the short overview of the novel gripping? Indeed, but that’s not the question anyway because who wouldn’t want to know more after reading this much? So let’s move on to the overview without spoiling too much about the novel.

How To Stop Time by Matt Haig | Book Review 

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig quotes

About the Author 

Matt Haig 

Matt Haig is an English writer and a journalist. Haig was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England, on 3 July 1974. After completing the University of Hull’s English and History courses, he managed an internet marketing company and worked for a nightclub in Spain until he became a full-time writer.

Both fiction and non-fiction books have been written by him for children and adults, often in the speculative fiction genre. The Humans and The Radleys are two of Haig’s novels and several award-winning children’s books, including the international bestseller Reasons to Stay Alive.

Haig’s work has been translated into more than thirty languages. He is married to Andrea Semple; they have two children. The family lives in Brighton, Sussex.

Book Overview | How To Stop Time by Matt Haig

How to Stop Time is a historical fantasy novel published in July 2017 by Matt Haig. The novel received glowing reviews from Booklist, Publishers Weekly, The Washington Post, and Kirkus Reviews.

The Los Angeles Times named it a bestseller. In February 2018 and Summer 2019, it landed on IndieBound’s Indie Next List. It is a Sunday Times Bestseller and a Richard & Judy Book Club Pick. It also won the 2017 Books Are My Bag Readers Award. It also won the 2017 Books Are My Bag Readers Award.

Publishing date: 6 July 2016

Publisher: Canongate Books (UK), Penguin Books (US)

Genre: Romance novel, historical fiction, fantasy fiction 

Language: English 

Length: 352 pages (may vary)

Major themes: This novel deals with themes about the inevitability of change and learning to find happiness. We also examine how we lose and find ourselves, how we adjust to change, and how we might find happiness if we have enough time to learn. And By using people and places, the protagonist illustrates that change is inevitable, regardless of human desires.

Setting: The majority of the book takes place in present-day London. However, it flips back and forth to different periods, from the late 16th century to 2017.

Point of view: The novel is told from Tom Hazard’s point of view, and he describes his own story in the first person.

Tense: Throughout How to Stop Time, Tom switches between his current life and the different personas he has taken on throughout the years. The story is divided into sections by time and place. Each segment occurs in one setting and timeframe, either in the present or past.

Main characters: In the story, several characters appear, including Rose, Marion, Camille, Hendrich, and Omai. But the main character is Tom Hazard, a 41-year-old London teacher who has lived for centuries but has a rare condition that has caused him to live for centuries. He was born in 1581 in France. As a result of a rare genetic disorder, he aged exceptionally slowly and lived history alongside famous historical figures.

Book summary | How To Stop Time by Matt Haig 

It is about Tom Hazard, though he has used many different names. He has an unusual condition that causes him to slowly age, so he leaves town every few years and starts fresh with a new name, always frightened that someone will discover him.

Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. Despite looking like an ordinary 41-year-old, Tom Hazard has been alive for centuries. He’s lived history- hanging out with Shakespeare, trying out the high seas with Captain Cook, and drinking cocktails with Scott Fitzgerald. Now he wants an ordinary life.

To be protected, Tom belongs to the Albatross Society, a secret organization led by Hendrich, who is highly protective of his members and aggressive about finding and admitting other people into the group. Each member of the Albatross Society must occasionally perform an assignment, which usually involves engaging others with the condition or eliminating threats.

When Tom moves back to London, he hopes to become a history teacher at a high school there. However, he struggles with memories of his previous life there in the early 1600s, when he was forced to leave his wife and child to ensure their safety.

Hendrich helps him find the daughter who shares his condition, but he’s losing hope. On his first day at school, he meets a captivating French teacher that seems fascinated by him. Sometimes Tom wallows too much over the changelessness of the human condition, and one may wonder why he has not been able to heal his oldest wounds more completely.

Painful memories from his past threaten to derail his new life, and the erratic behaviour of the Society’s watchful leader might ruin his new romance. However, the one thing he can’t have is exactly what might save him.

Tom will need to answer once and for all whether he is prepared to remain stuck in the past or whether he can begin living in the present.

What to Learn from the Book? | How To Stop Time by Matt Haig

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig cover image

It’s fascinating to know that as we first meet Tom during his present fay when he is living life as a history teacher, on the other hand, We also learn about Tom’s early life and the difficulties he encountered as a different person.

It is impossible to communicate such knowledge to the general public; humans are prone to superstition. He has to move around too often because people become suspicious as his ageing isn’t the same as everybody else’s. Even if you imagine the past to be far away, it’s strange how close it is. But In the end, he learns to live in the moment, finding happiness in the present. He can no longer worry about the future and fear the past.

The author’s writing style can smoothly transition between periods and provide historical context for the events of his characters’ lives without getting mixed up in explanation.

The book is filled with memorable quotes about time and how we perceive it as humans; how we fear and dislike it, despite our struggles, knowing and realizing that it’s one of the most precious things we have as human beings.

More than travelling, this book is about time. And time is about moments, not spaces between them. Haig has captured a few lovely moments like butterflies in a jar, moments of love and rage and heartbreak that You’ll enjoy discovering as you enjoy reading this novel.

My Thoughts for the Book 

In general, I thought the story was great. Tom Hazard was an interesting character, but I did not feel particularly connected to him.

The way the story is told is unique. Each chapter of the book takes us to a new era in Tom’s life, from the 1500s to today. But each era follows a story, and we learn more about what happened during that time frame as it becomes more relevant to the modern tale, though I thought the historical part felt livelier and told more of Tom’s story than the modern parts.

Tom has reached a point in the book where things are starting to change for him, and we realize that through those changes, we lose ourselves and find ourselves, and we can find happiness if we allow ourselves enough time to learn.

The writing style was apparent and precise, and it was nice to read characters’ works that were created pretty quickly, and the settings for the pages were very clear. There is a shared plotline that runs through many of the eras of the book, which I think helps tie everything together, but it was resolved very quickly and without explanation.

After reading the story, I conclude that this is not a time travel story. It is just reliving memories that have been lived before. No one will physically visit these times as the end was just a bit rushed.

This book is often called a romance, but I don’t feel like it belongs to that category because it’s not about a particular relationship. Instead, it’s about the difficulties Tom faces as a single person with so many different lives. Contains lots of humour as well; the funniest parts are guaranteed to make you smile.

Compliments for the novel How To Stop Time by Matt Haig from different platforms.

 “Haig’s dialogue is witty and snappy…, and he remains an insightful observer of contemporary life.” – The New York Times. 

“A quirky romcom dusted with philosophical observations….A delightfully witty…poignant novel.” -The Washington Post 

“The story of How to Stop Time is a bittersweet one about the meaning of life.” – Kirkus

“A riveting, time-travelling tale that unfolds at a cracking pace.” –The Bookseller, Book of the month 

Rating of the Book | How To Stop Time by Matt Haig

Rating: 4 out of 5.

As a result of the excellent content of this story, I will give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Conclusion & recommendations | How To Stop Time by Matt Haig

Many things are going on in this book, which makes it interesting to read. There is a little bit of everything from science fiction to historical fiction to romance.

This book would interest readers of all ages interested in trying out new reading experiences and enhancing their taste in books. Thank you for your time, and have a pleasant reading experience.

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