From the New York Times bestselling author of The Midnight Library.
“A quirky romcom dusted with philosophical observations….A delightfully witty…poignant novel.” —The Washington Post
“She smiled a soft, troubled smile and I felt the whole world slipping away, and I wanted to slip with it, to go wherever she was going… I had existed whole years without her, but that was all it had been. An existence. A book with no words.”
Tom Hazard has just moved back to London, his old home, to settle down and become a high school history teacher. And on his first day at school, he meets a captivating French teacher at his school who seems fascinated by him. But Tom 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.
Unfortunately for Tom, 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 tells a love story across the ages—and for the ages—about a man lost in time, the woman who could save him, and the lifetimes it can take to learn how to live. It 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.
Soon to be a major motion picture starring Benedict Cumberbatch.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
How good is this book? Benedict Cumberbatch was signed to star in the film adaption even before its release. Matt Haig has taken a fairly familiar idea—a band of immortals battling their extraordinary fate—and turned it into a deeply affecting and totally charming novel. The story follows Tom Hazard, a man who’s been alive for centuries and lived everywhere (we particularly loved the scenes spent in Elizabethan London). Tom has always struggled to get over a forbidden love from Shakespearean times—and his plight had us bewitched from start to finish.
Tom Hazard doesn't age. Or, he does, but very, very slowly. He was born in France in 1581, but like other "albatrosses" (those who carry the burden of living forever), a century to him passes like a decade or less. In this enthralling quest through time, Haig (Reasons to Stay Alive) follows his protagonist through the Renaissance up to "now," when Tom works as a history teacher in London. As Tom goes on various recruiting missions for the Albatross Society, the setting of the story moves from Shakespeare's Globe to F. Scott Fitzgerald's Paris to Bisbee, Ariz., and other far reaches of the earth. The main rule of the Albatross Society is that, in order to stay protected from a group of scientists who want to study and confirm the existence of the albatrosses, an albatross cannot fall in love. And yet, all the while, Tom nurses a broken heart and searches for his long lost daughter, Marion, who is also an albatross. "Humans don't learn from history" is one of the lessons Tom learns, and, despite everything he witnesses over the expansiveness of history, nothing can cure him of lovesickness. His persistence through the centuries shows us that the quality of time matters more than the quantity lived.
I like the intertwining of history with the story line.
The interesting bits are subdued. I get making the mc a passive character in history but it just feels like a boring Forest Gump. Then when the book starts to get interesting we get introduced to some easily avoidable, false guilt conflict that falls flat. They were a frank conversation away from not needing 300 pages of book
This book utilized the past and the present in clever ways to help to delve into the characters and the world they inhabit. It takes a simple concept and does a lot with it, using it to develop plot and emotion that lasts for centuries. One of the best books I’ve read.