How to Stop Time, written by Matt Haig, is inspirational and mildly depressing at the same time. The story revolves around Tom Hazard, a man who appears to be in his 40s but is actually closer to 440 due to a mysterious condition that slows down his aging process.
We meet Tom when he was little more than a child, living with his mother in rural France. Rumours of witches and witchcraft abound, and his not aging starts to raise a few suspicions.
The narrative jumps between different time periods, delving into Tom’s past and his present-day struggles as he tries to keep his identity a secret in an increasingly modernised world. Through his experiences and relationships, the book examines the joys and challenges of living an extended life and the importance of embracing the present moment.
His virtual immortality must be kept secret on the orders of a secret society of other people like him called the Albatross Society.
One thing I had a minor gripe with is that he seemingly managed to rub shoulders with lots of famous people throughout his life. From Shakespeare and Captain Cook to F. Scott Fitzgerald and others along the way. It seemed a little forced, but I guess some random dude just meeting other randos throughout history wouldn’t be as interesting.
“How to Stop Time” is a poignant exploration of what it means to be human and the significance of living fully, even in the face of adversity. Tom is forever concerned with the what-ifs and maybes that might happen without ever truly living his life.
Part historical fiction, romance, and philosophical musings of life, this was a thought-provoking and engaging tale exploring the themes of love, loss, identity, and the human experience.
The narration by Mark Meadows was well done and of professional quality. No background noises or other errors that I noticed. A little slower than I’d like, but that’s my preference, and a tap of the playback speed options sorted that out.
This was my second book by Matt Haig, the first being The Midnight Library which was also fantastic. I’ll be adding more of his to my wish list very shortly!