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Sunday, 30 July 2017

Book Review: How To Stop Time by Matt Haig

Book Review: How To Stop Time by Matt Haig | Hollie In Wanderlust | Book Blogger

At the start of July, I was lucky enough to attend a meet and greet talk with Matt Haig at Liverpool Waterstones, along with a couple of my friends. Matt Haig is an author who has inspired me on multiple levels over the course of the last few years and the prospect of a new release was far too much for me to resist a naughty purchase (despite being on a month-long book ban…)

I read The Humans around a year ago, after having had it recommended to me by one of the friends I attened the meet and greet with. I read (the vast majority of) Reasons to Stay Alive whilst on a flight to Paris to see a friend. Both books appealed to me for entirely different reasons and from then on, I was hooked. I loved Haig’s style of writing- almost effortless- and the way his words actually MEANT SOMETHING to me. I resonated with him in so many ways. Simply put: I loved his books.

How to Stop Time made me feel exactly the same way.

Bravo, Matt.  

Listening to Matt Haig speak about his book before I’d read it definitely made a difference, I would say. I was able to understand the characters a little more whilst I was reading it. This book was read whilst sunning on a beach in Barcelona and the paradise sure made for an easy read. Tom Hazard, the protagonist of the book, is a newly employed history teacher in a local secondary teacher and seems just like any other middle aged man of the times. Except he’s not: he’s actually over 4 centuries old, having suffered from a genetic condition for the entirety of his life. This condition works in such a way that he never ages: the years pass and he does not get older. Tom has lived through the times of Shakespeare, bore witness to the witch trials on a particularly personal level and lost loved ones to the black death. Sounds ideal, right? Wrong.

This was one of those books that I had to force myself to put down and have a breather from, just so that I could savour it for that little bit longer. I loved the way the book portrayed the passage of time and flipped from the present day back to the past, to show how Tom and his character had developed and experienced over the years. I loved the casualness of Tom’s encounters with historical beings- my personal favourite being the chapters involving Shakespeare and Fitzgerald, but then, I am a literary fiend by heart. I found myself wishing that Tom was MY history teacher at school, as after a rusty start he managed to bring history to life in a way that inspired even the most uninspired of learners. I was incredibly emotionally invested in the book, in a number of different ways and the characters were built marvellously up into interesting and relevant ones. The story is beautifully crafted and comes together with the most stunning conclusion that honestly left me wanting more and cursing myself for reading so quickly.

If I could erase my memory of this story just to read it all over again, I would do so in a heartbeat.


5/5


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