In years of reading books, there are those that are fine for the short time with them, those that prove good enough to remain with you for a longer time. But every once in a while a novel appears that is so beautiful that it becomes a memory that it will stay with you for a long time. Such a book is Matt Haig’s “How to stop Time.”
Tom Hazard appears like any other 40 year old male. But he is certainly far from that; he is actually more than 400 years of age. Due to a rare shift in his genetic makeup, he ages very slowly and also doesn’t suffer from many illnesses. He was born during the Elizabethan period in England and actually met and talked to William Shakespeare.
Over the years, he discovers that there are others like him and eventually a group is formed as a means of self protection. Why self protection? Simply put, there is a great deal of mistrust on the part of ordinary people that notice when someone does not age over time. Tom actually witnessed his mother being drowned as a witch when it was discovered that she had a son that did not grow older.
Instead of being the blessing that centuries of life could convey, the lack of aging causes those that are affected by it have to constantly change locations in order to remain unnoticed by ordinary people. Tom himself meets and falls in love with a girl in his own time and has a daughter with her. He remains happy and content with their life together until the stares of other people make him realize that in the age he was born in he is a danger to his wife and daughter. He decides to leave them and begins centuries of hiding.
Haig describes the emotions that fill Tom’s mind as he literally runs away from the joys and sorrows of life as normal people experience them. The author is adept at presenting the facts and circumstances present in all the ages Tom lives through. We see him taking part in events that occurred, meeting the people that became famous in each period and experiencing a normal longing for a love that has predeceased him by centuries. A book to savor and think about for a long time to come.
HOW TO STOP TIME by Matt Haig. Viking (February 6, 2018). ISBN 978-0525522874. 336p.