Monday, February 18, 2019

How to Stop Time

How to Stop Time, Matt Haig

I really liked this story of a man who seemingly does not age, or rather he ages very slowly so that one of his years is equivalent to 15 normal human years.

For those who enjoyed The Time Traveler's Wife or The 100-year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared there will be much to interest and entertain here as well. Tom Hazard was born in 1581 and now in current day he looks in his low 40s. In his youth he realised it was dangerous to look so young for so long and he learnt the art of hiding and moving on. In time he found other people like him, through the Albatross society headed by Hendrich, named such because the albatross was the longest living bird when the society was founded. In contrast, normal humans are disparagingly referred to as mayflies by the Albas because of their short life span.

Hendrich has gathered people into his society to protect them and so all members have to move on every eight years, as well as finding other albas or disposing of people who discover them. But Tom is always searching, once he had a daughter (Marian), she is like him but he cannot find her. What happened to her? Does she still live?

He settles in London and becomes a history teacher. He tries to reach out to students with the reality of what the past was like but it becomes increasingly hard to hide his true identity. The French teacher, Daphne, is intrigued by Tom and cannot figure out where she knows him from.

The story is told alternating through different timelines sometimes in the present day and other times reflecting back on Tom’s past. In his lifetime he has met Shakespeare, Captain Cook and so many historical facts are woven into the fictional story. While there is some mystery and tension along the way and there is a climax to the ending, in essence it’s a great story based on an intriguing premise. An enjoyable read that makes you think and wonder.

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