How to Stop Time

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 06 Apr 2018

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On his job application to teach history at a London school, youthful looking Tom Hazard admits to being 41. Actually, he's more than 400, having been blessed (or cursed) with a condition in which he ages incredibly slowly. Matt Haig's How to Stop Time (Viking, digital galley) is entertaining historical fiction with a time travel twist. In present-day London, Tom follows the rules of the secret Albatross Society, which is made up of other "Albas'' who change their identities and locales every eight years and never, ever fall in love with "Mayflies,'' mere mortals. Tom still mourns the loss of his wife centuries ago and is looking for his daughter...

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I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

I was expecting an adventurous romp through time, but that is not what this story is about. Unfortunately, I started this book, but then had a couple of holds come in and inherited the running of a book club. So, I had four books to read while I read this one; my attention was a little divided. I read in hour drabs over the space of a few weeks, but still I never felt engaged with the plot or characters until the end.

Yes, part of that was my state of focus, but the other part was the slow burn of the plot with frequent interruptions of the narrative to engage in historical tourism as we discover elements of the...

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How to Stop Time by Matt Haig is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late March.

The first-person narrator, Tom Hazard, is afflicted with anageria, aka eternal life. He works as a school headmaster in England and in service every 8 years to a man named Heinrich, who seeks to recruit people to the Albatross Society to note their activity, recruit others, and keep them safe from modern science projects undertaken by 'mayflies' (regular humans) on artificially prolonging life. Everything is very left-aligned, almost nostalgic and timeless with flashbacks between his 'past lives' (i.e. the birth of his daughter Marion, working with his awesome sailor friend Omai, run-ins...

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First line: I often think of what Hendrich said to me, over a century ago, in his New York apartment.

Summary: Tom Hazard may look like an ordinary man but he is anything but. He is several hundred years old. He has seen the world change from Elizabethan England to the modern era. Sounds like a dream right? Maybe so but it can be lonely. When a group called the Albatross Society discovers him, he learns that there are many more people like him. Their main rule is to never fall in love. It complicates things. Tom has led many different lives but now he takes on a role that could jeopardize his existence, a history teacher. When he intrigues a fellow teacher, he has to decide if it is worth...

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This one was just a little bit better than ok which is why I went ahead and gave it three stars. I really loved the plot of this book and think it could have been done SO much better. It really had a lot of potential but for the first half of the book it dragged quite a bit. It also jumped around in time which messed with the flow of the story. I did like that the character came across a few important figure throughout his life, in fact I wish there had been more of that! Towards the end it was a little rushed but it did end well.
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A man known currently as Tom Hazard has a secret. He may look 41 years old but in reality, he is more like 500 years old. He has lived through it all: wars, true love, Shakespeare, witch trials, etc. Still missing his wife who died hundreds of years ago, Tom has pretty much checked out. He would have tried even more drastic measures if his daughter wasn't out there in the world somewhere. His life is controlled by the secret Albatross society, which takes care of his placements and documents. Are they helping or hurting him?

I really wanted to like this book. The plot itself is great, but could have been told so much better. It's the writing style that just doesn't...

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I really enjoyed this book and I read it in a couple of nights. I like historical fiction and while this isn't necessarily historical it does have some of the nice back stories I find interesting. I found the flashbacks to be easy to follow and it was a simple story that was well developed. I found myself engaged with the character and was eager to find out his fate. I would recommend this book to my library patrons as a quick nice read.
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Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for this advance reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review.

Progeria is a condition that accelerates aging, and children with progeria who are not even teenagers look elderly and die very young. Haig imagines the life of someone with “anageria”, a condition that slows aging by a factor of 15. People with anageria go underground and live in secret, aided by the Albatross Society. The first rule of the Society: “You don’t fall in love. There are other rules too, but that is the main one. No falling in love. No staying in love. No daydreaming of love. If you stick to this you will just about be OK.”

Well, you can imagine how well that rule works...

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Tom Hazard has a rare condition that causes him to age much, much more slowly than the average human. The book alternates between present day London and flashes back to various points in his life over the past several centuries. While this was an interesting premise, the book was actually pretty boring. The narrator was just feeling sorry for himself and suffering over the "love" he lost over 300 years ago. He lived in fear of both his secret being discovered and the founder of the Albatross Society which is supposedly there to keep him and others like him safe but was like a mafia. Tom also had met all of these historical figures, like Shakespeare, Captain Cook, and Fitzgerald...

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Excellent historical romance about a man who ages slowly/is over 400 years old, and suffers losing the ones he cares for because of his disease. Sometimes a meditation on what is life and love, this novel is an enjoyable read asking what does it mean to be human?
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While this is not, strictly speaking, a time travel book, it will be easy to hand to customers who enjoy time travel fantasy fiction. What made this book really wonderful for me were the histoical places visited by the main character and the famous figures (like F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald) that we meet along the way. An absolutely delightful read.
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While not a time traveling story, we are able to travel through time with the main character, who is able to live much longer than the typical human, hundred of years longer in fact. Exploring the struggle of choosing to live as generations and centuries pass, which believing and searching for the closeness of family, Haig's novel will hold you tightly as you move through history. My only gripe is that at times it felt more like a history textbook than a gripping plotline, but historical fiction fans will most likely enjoy it.
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First published in Great Britain in 2017; published by Viking on February 6, 2018

How to Stop Time is a sneaky novel. It delivers an important message, but wraps it in such an engaging story that the message seems secondary until it begins to drive the story. The novel asks the reader to imagine living a very long life, and to think about whether the price required to stay safe is too great for the longevity it buys.

If you only age one year for every fifteen calendar years, maybe the secret is not to fall in love. Tom Hazard learned that the hard way. Tom was born in 1581. In his teens, having not visibly aged since the age of 13, his mother was accused of witchcraft. A few years later...

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I read this very quickly, because I wanted to find out what happened, and all the while I was sad because I very much wanted to read it slowly, because it's beautiful-- both the historical detail in the historical scenes and the emotional realism in the contemporary scenes.  I will read it again in a few years; it will make a wonderful rereading book. 

The author used short sentences followed by longer sentences that repeated key words from the preceding short one.  I noticed the style because it was unique, and because I've seen it used poorly, but this author had a really good handle on it.
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I loved this book. So well written. I found this book unputdownable!!
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I did not enjoy the writing style of this book. And how was he able to meet so many famous people? Just too much belief had to be suspended on this one.
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British writer Matt Haig, writer of myriad genres for readers of diverse age groups, has turned his hand to a time travel novel, How To Stop Time, and carried it off with panache. Tom Hazard, the protagonist, looks like he is in his late thirties/early forties, but he is really 400 years old: “You see, I have a condition,” he tells us at the beginning of the book.. “I am old – old in the way that a tree, or a quahog clam, or a Renaissance painting is old. I was born well over four hundred years ago, on the third of March 1581 …” For every 13 or 14 human years, he ages one year.

As the novel opens the year is 2017, and Hazard’s long life (Don’t you love his name?) has brought him...

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First sentence: I am old. That is the main thing to tell you. The thing you are least likely to believe. If you saw me you would probably think I was about forty, but you would be very wrong. I am old –old in the way that a tree, or a quahog clam, or a Renaissance painting is old. To give you an idea: I was born well over four hundred years ago on the third of March 1581, in my parents’ room, on the third floor of a small French château that used to be my home.

Premise/plot: Tom Hazard has had to live with regrets for a long time--a very long time. His biggest regret is leaving his daughter, Marion, behind all those centuries ago. At the time, he didn't know she'd inherited his...

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This wasn't as brilliant and amazing as I hoped it would be. The pace was slow and the style of writing was slightly boring. Several times, I found myself staring blankly at my screen trying to remember what just happened. 
However, it wasn't all bad either. There were moments that made me stop and contemplate life and the various reasons behind it. There were countless pieces of wisdom dispersed throughout the book. Perhaps, to the point that it got a bit too cheesy for my taste.

I'll be honest. This book can be enjoyed to the fullest when and only when you 'need' it in your life. This is something that a wiser and older me would probably enjoy and find extremely...

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I loved this book. The idea that living for centuries is appealing until the realities intrude.  As your loved ones age and die you continue in the prime of life. That is the heart of this book that I found so compelling. The dangers of not aging and the emotional risks of becoming involved in life keeps the main character isolated for centuries. It is a lonely and isolating experience until love enters and shows that life without people we are close to isn’t living .
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