Tom Hazard looks like an ordinary 41-year-old. But he has a dangerous secret. Owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. Growing up in Elizabethan England, living through World Wars, the Jazz Age in Paris, living all over the world. He has seen a lot and suffered a lot. But now, he just wants a normal life. Every time he moves, which is every 8 years, he gets a new identity. And has now the perfect cover — working as a history teacher in London. He can teach kids about all the things he lived through — world wars, witch hunts. It is his way, to try to tame the past but it is too fast, and still catching up with him.
Tom has to deal with his condition alone for centuries. Until he meets Hendrich, head of the Albatros Society. He is the one helping Tom to get a new identity every 8 years. But there is one simple rule: Never fall in love, never get to attached. Tom tries to stay in the present, tries to not get to attached, thinking always of his mother and daughter. But teaching does not help, and so we see him over time, watch him play the lute for Shakespeare or have a thoughtful conversation with Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald. We see him at his best and his worst. We learn, that Tom has lived many lives, discover the many places he’s lived at and are always at his side throughout the search for his missing daughter Marion.
Matt Haig has given us a book, that is so much more than just the story about a very, very old man. He’s given us a thoughtful story which is also fun to read, with sparkling dialogues. A story of love, mortality, and family. A story, which considers every aspect of humanity. I love Matt Haig’s atmospheric writing, all the scenes in the past were as vivid and alive as those in the present. And I love his deep sentences. He shows his empathy for humans and their mind in every little word. A book about loneliness, about finding oneself and a book, that shows us, that to live is always the better choice, there is always someone or something worth living for.
There is no possible way of living in a world without books or trees or sunsets. There just isn’t
Although there were a few things, like the abrupt ending and the story about Hendrich, that I didn’t like that much, I still just loved How to stop time. Because it is so much more and, after finishing it, I am still haunted by it. It is just one of those books that you read through and then you just sit there, thinking about, what you just read and what on earth Haig did with you. I really suffer from a book Hangover — which is always a good thing.
I felt for Tom and at the same time, started thinking about my own life, about humans in general, that it is important to try to make the best of the time which is given to you, not to live in the past, not to fear the future, just to live, even if its sometimes very difficult. Books like How to stop time by Matt Haig, are an eye-opener, helping to think about what you have and that I should be grateful for that. Read it, just go now, buy it and read it. It is heart-warming because the way Matt Haig looks at life is just beautiful.
In those moments that burst alive the present lasts for ever, and I know there are many more presents to live. I understand that the way you stop time is by stopping being ruled by it. I am no longer drowning in my past, or fearful of my future.