29 September 2019

Review: How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig book cover
Allen & Unwin
Published 2017 (RRP $29.99AUD)
* Copy courtesy of Allen & Unwin *

Tom Hazard ages slowly. In fact, despite the appearance of a middle aged man, Tom is well over 400 years old. His medical condition has been both a blessing and a curse through the centuries and How To Stop Time by Matt Haig explores part of this life in all its pain and beauty.

Tom is subjected to fear and suspicion from those who begin to notice he doesn't age and he must move and change identities every eight years or so. The dangers he faces change with the times, but whether it be an accusation of witchcraft or the fear of being kidnapped and subjected to laboratory tests by big pharma, the threats to his life are ever present.

Falling in love is the biggest risk of all and the reader shares some of Tom's bittersweet memories of heartbreak and loss.

Published in 2017, How To Stop Time is a real clashing of genres. It's historical fiction meets science fiction with a dash of time travel resulting in a unique tale of endurance and the ability to adapt over time. It was this theme of history and the passage of time experienced by one individual that appealed to me the most.

In the Vampire Chronicles, bestselling author Anne Rice openly explores the relative success - or failure - of her characters to survive and adapt to the changes in technology, religion, culture, conflict and displacement over time. This constant learning and adaptability make a person wise and sometimes intuitive, and this was the case for Tom too.

What I didn't enjoy was the casual name dropping of well known figures from the past, so the novel loses a star for including interactions with Shakespeare, Captain Cook and F. Scott Fitzgerald. (I readily acknowledge this may be a highlight for some).

How To Stop Time by Matt Haig is recommended for historical fiction fans looking for a fresh angle on the past and science fiction readers looking to dip their toe into another genre.

Carpe Librum!

My Rating:

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  1. I loved this one. Your downside, with the name dropping, was definitely one of my highlights!

    1. I remembered you loved this one and enjoyed reading your review after I'd written mine. Glad to hear this one has stayed with you.


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