Thursday, 13 July 2017

Review: How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

I downloaded How to Stop Time because I follow Matt Haig on Twitter. He's funny and entertaining, but also talks honestly about more serious issues. I'd never read any of his books before but the sound of this one intrigued me. I knew I'd enjoy it but I was surprised by how much, and I started recommending it to my friends before I'd even finished it.

For some reason I'd got it into my head it was about time travel - it isn't. It's hard to explain the story without giving away too much of the plot, but basically our hero, Tom, was born in 1581, the son of aristocratic French immigrants. His father was killed in the religious wars, and Tom and his mother are now scraping a living in Suffolk. But Tom has a secret that in those days could get you killed. He ages at about the rate of one year to everyone else's fifteen. When the story continues in the present day, he still appears as though he's only in his early forties.

How to Stop Time reminded me a bit of that old 1980s movie Highlander (only without the beheadings!) as Tom tries to live his life throughout the centuries, forced to be constantly on the move in case he is found out, and trying not to fall in love. And  I loved the way he kept accidentally bumping into famous historical figures!

What I particularly enjoyed was that it read almost like a collection of short stories. We are shown glimpses of Tom's past life mixed in with his present one as a history teacher. It's like that old 'gather around the fireside and I'll tell you a story'.

The writing is fabulous, I loved all the quirky historical facts and pertinent things Tom has to say about how we live our lives in the 21st century. It was one of those books I really didn't want to end and I'd have loved to have heard more of  Tom's stories about the past.


Thank you to Matt Haig, Canongate Books and Netgalley for my copy of this book, which I received in exchange for an honest review. 

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