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  • Writer's pictureLucie Ataya

Review: How to Stop Time, by Matt Haig


How to Stop Time is an ode to the eccentricities and incongruities of humanity, as they have persisted through the ages.'


I’ll come right out and say it: I LOVE Matt Haig’s style. This is the third novel of his I read and every time it gives me the shivers.

Tom Hazard has a secret: he ages much, much slower than normal human beings. At over four hundred years old, he's seen and lived enough to make a historian pale with envy. He’s fallen in love. He's searched for his long-lost daughter. He's run and hidden until he no longer saw the point of running and hiding. And he's joined the secret Albatros society, founded to protect others like him.

How to Stop Time is an ode to the eccentricities and incongruities of humanity, as they have persisted through the ages. Written in a style that’s simple yet effective, the story carries us from one era to the next, poking fun (and truth!) at the similarities that link us to our supposedly less evolved ancestors.

The book looks at the meaning of life in that same candid way Haig uses in his other fiction work: a voice that's both endearing and undeniably on point, devoid of any unnecessary flourish. Though the story is entertaining, I wouldn't say this is a light read, because it's bound to get you thinking and reflecting on your own purpose life.

As with everything Matt Haig though, it’s ultimately a tale of hope and of our innate ability to always find light at the end of the tunnel.

The best quote in the whole book for me:

‘And, just as it only takes a moment to die, it only takes a moment to live. You just close your eyes and let every futile fear slip away. And then, in this new state, free from fear, you ask yourself: who am I? If I could live without doubt what would I do? If I could be kind without the fear of being fucked over? If I could love without fear of being hurt? If I could taste the sweetness of today without thinking of how I will miss that taste tomorrow? If I could not fear the passing of time and the people it will steal? Yes. What would I do? Who would I care for? What battle would I fight? Which paths would I step down? What joys would I allow myself? What internal mysteries would I solve? How, in short, would I live?’

A highly recommended read. The audiobook version is expertly narrated and also worth a try!

For more by Matt Haig, check out my review of The Midnight Library here!

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