How To Stop Time by Matt HaigHow To Stop Time by Matt Haig

How To Stop Time

byMatt Haig

Paperback | February 6, 2018

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The first rule is don't fall in love

Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but because of a rare condition, he's been alive for centuries. From performing with Shakespeare, to exploring the high seas with Captain Cook, to sharing cocktails with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tom has seen a lot. But now, after over 400 years of reinventing himself to escape detection, he just wants an ordinary life. The only rule he has to follow is Don’t fall in love.

When Tom catches the eye of a captivating woman named Camille at the dog park, everything begins to unravel. Caught between the danger of discovery and the desire to build a real life, Tom learns that the thing he can't have might just be the thing that saves him.

A wild, bittersweet, time-travelling story, How to Stop Time is about losing and finding yourself, about the certainty of change, about the perils of love and about the mistakes that humans are doomed to repeat. It asks the question, How many lifetimes does it take to learn how to live?



Matt Haig was born on July 3, 1975 in Sheffield. He attended the University of Hull where he studied English and History. He has since become a British novelist and journalist. He has authored both fiction and non-fiction for children and adults. His non-fiction title "Reasns to Stay Alive" became a Sunday Times bestseller. His bestsel...
Title:How To Stop TimeFormat:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.84 inPublished:February 6, 2018Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:144345138X

ISBN - 13:9781443451383

How To Stop Time
How To Stop Time

by Matt Haig


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The Humans
The Humans

by Matt Haig


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Rated 2 out of 5 by from Just okay The storyline, while interesting, got to be a bit long, while the ending felt rushed and unfinished.
Date published: 2018-10-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Storyline, Rushed Ending I was sucked into the book from page one! I enjoyed the stories of Tom's life and how society has changed. I also enjoyed the love interest in the story. However, I found that the ending was abrupt. There were major turning points in the story but were not flushed out.
Date published: 2018-10-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Interesting premise - easy to read story Great book and while close to a "vampire" type story line it did have a unique premise. I liked the intertwining with history with fiction. I would definitely recommend this book.
Date published: 2018-08-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read I really like the set up of the story moving between past and present until the two collide in an unexpected way. #plumreview
Date published: 2018-08-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from One of my favourite Matt Haig book so far... except for the ending! How do you not admire the imagination and world he puts forth? I loved the characters and I loved the going back and forth in time within the narrative etc. However, the ending was too rushed. It skipped so much that it shouldn't have and not memorable... almost too easy of an ending (hence the 4/5 stars). I'd like to remember this book for its characters and how he developed the story in the beginning and throughout the middle.
Date published: 2018-08-20
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting premise I like what Matt Haig was trying to do in this book but it was slow and disjointed. I bought it because I heard such great things about it but it did not live up to my expectations.
Date published: 2018-08-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good story I think I could’ve enjoyed this book a lot more had I read it in one or two sittings. It was slightly confusing flipping back and forth between the present and centuries ago. I liked the idea of anageria (aging extremely slowly) and empathized with the Albas whose number one rule was “don’t fall in love”. It was interesting to jump across centuries within a lifetime but I lacked a real connection to the story.
Date published: 2018-08-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful story. I love Matt Haig's work and have read several of his books. How to Stop Time was my pick for a book club selection and I was not disappointed. He can take a seemingly bizarre situation and breathe humanity into it so you start to see how the character could live like this. Highly recommend.
Date published: 2018-08-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Okay... The general idea behind the book was a good one, and kept me interested and invested up until the final 60-some pages. The ending was rushed and open-ended, which is fine if you consider the possible moral of the story, which could be that life just keeps going and going with no actual "end" or "closure"; but this is a stand alone book. You'd expect the ending to be a bit better than it was.
Date published: 2018-06-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from An Average Time Travel Story with An Intriguing Plot ***3.5 stars*** Imagine that you could live long enough to experience and witness every epic events in history - 15th century Plague, 16th century witch hunts, the roaring 20s, Spanish Civil War - and meeting important historical figures such as Shakespeare, Scott Fitzgerald, Josephine Baker & Captain Cook. You experienced every changes in these different eras - you seen it all! This is precisely what Tom Hazard (Estienne Thomas Ambroise Christophe Hazard) life was and is about. Born in 1521 with a rare condition called "anageria" which caused his ageing process to be extremely slow but with a heightened immune system where he almost immune to viral and bacteria infections. He thought he is the only one until the founder of Albatross Society known as Henrich found him and helped him to survive through the centuries. He traveled around the world, assumed different identities & abided the very first rule: Don’t fall in love. But he couldn't let go of his past & it is the only reason that kept him going through all these centuries. Will he be able to confront his past & find a way to stop time? The premise of the story is intriguing and it is definitely a page-turner right from the beginning. Albeit a time travel story, but Haig cleverly explained it away with a rare condition rather than the typical magic or super powers. That is unique and make it different from other time travelling story. I enjoy all the historical settings - different eras, interactions with historical figures and how Haig blended them into Hazard's story was brilliant. The explanation of the condition is clever and rather believable. I like the idea of the Albatross Society existence & how they managed to stay obscured from the world is interesting. Since Hazard is the protagonist in this story, I can only really see his character developed. His life story is very colourful and filled with abundance of adventures. He is faithful and persistent with his goal (not giving any reasons so as not to spoil the story). As for other supporting characters, they were not fully developed and there was no real connection with any of them other than Hazard. The storytelling was rather confusing due to so many different time eras that were narrated back & forth without any chronological order. I struggled in the beginning to really get myself into this story. Truth be told, I did not enjoy the writing. It was a little too contemporary for the historical eras & the triteness of some sentences made parts of the story rather boring. There was strong language used throughout the book which I think was unnecessary at all. My major issue with this story is the ending. It felt rushed after all the good story build up and the anticipation. There are quite a few things that is going on in this story and because of it, there are also plot holes which were left unexplained in the end. A big no-no for me! In a nutshell, How To Stop Time is an intriguing time travel story with a promising plot. If you love history, this book may interests you. However, the lack of finesse in storytelling & characters development with a rushed ending, renders this to be a moderate read for me. Quotable quotes: "Nothing fixes a thing so intensely in the memory as the wish to forget it."-Michel de Montaigne "I speak the truth not so much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little more as I grow older."-Michel de Montaigne "While knowledge without integrity is dangerous, integrity without knowledge is weak and useless."
Date published: 2018-06-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from It's ok Interesting premice. I'm about halfway through and am enjoying the book. But it's not mindblowing. Quite a few cus words too.
Date published: 2018-06-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Interesting and compeling narrative. Took me some time to get used to it, but I definitely liked it as I went along. I can see why others like it.
Date published: 2018-05-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting premise but in the end it wasn't for me. What if you aged so slowly you were over 400 years old? Would you view this as a gift or a curse? Tom Hazard was born March 3, 1581 and suffers from a condition known as anageria, aging one year for every 15 years. His life expectancy is just under one thousand years, which makes for a lonely existence because he doesn’t have a whole lot in common with other people. He was once married in the 1600’s and has spent centuries searching for his daughter who has inherited his condition. By all accounts I should have loved this book but I didn’t. The premise is fascinating, the writing is amazing, and the historical elements sprinkled into the story are interesting. I listened to the audiobook and could not connect with the narrator, therefore this book never stood a chance. The main storyline is time travel and I’m just not interested in this topic. Overall, I really struggled with this one, however, HOW TO STOP TIME is a well written literary book and will surely resonate well with readers who enjoy these elements.
Date published: 2018-05-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Refreshing read Took a bit to get into, but once I did I enjoyed it.
Date published: 2018-05-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Good Read This was a great read. It was slow at some parts, but overall a story about taking embracing life and all it has to offer, no longer how long you've been alive.
Date published: 2018-05-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from great concept the theme is amazing, I love the moral at the end as well. I feel like the plot could have been a little bit more developed. I would recommend this
Date published: 2018-04-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Engaging and Thoughtful How to Stop Time is one of those cozy weekend reads full of interesting storytelling and thoughtful takes on love and life. This, combined with the amazing illustrations by Chris Riddell, make the book a real treat (I bought the illustrated version — well worth it!). I love how Haig uses the character of Tom, a man who ages extremely slowly, to explore themes about what it means to really live and the value of love, things like the difference between existing and living, and is it worth loving someone if you will inevitably watch them age and die while you don’t. These are great questions to explore and Haig does it in a way that doesn’t seem “heavy”. Tom was an interesting character — he’d seen amazing things and met influential people in his long life, but he lived in fear of being exposed and this influenced his every action and thought. The one criticism I have of this book is that sometimes Tom gets a bit dragged down in his thoughts and fears and it slows the book down and feels repetitive at times. However, the ending more than made up for this and I would recommend this book for a thoughtful read, complete with historic adventures.
Date published: 2018-04-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Couldn't put it down I read this over the long weekend and hated when I had to stop reading to do things. I felt transported in time and place all around the world. I was delighted to find how much I enjoyed this. I will read this author's other book, The Humans next.
Date published: 2018-04-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great to Read! Almost every chapter is a different point in time of the main character's life, unless the plot is very exciting in which the chapters are from the same time period. It was a refreshing read because of the originality of the plot. The book focuses on love but mostly in the form of love for a complete family and love for a daughter. The message in the book at the end is that life is made of moments and you have to live them instead of spending today's moments being scared about tomorrow. Also, there is a twist at the end but the book doesn't push for it, it happens naturally. My only criticism is that the author could have gone into a bit more detail about the main character's life in the past century to give it a more historical fiction angle.
Date published: 2018-03-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Worth Checking Out This book was a little hard to get into at first but once the story got going and I got used to the writing style and the characters, I found it to be a really great story. I especially liked the parts that dealt with the main character's history and how the author tied each story in to what was taking place in present time. The ending felt a little rushed and I would have liked to see it fleshed out a little bit. Overall, it was a well written and entertaining book. I would recommend it to others for sure!
Date published: 2018-03-13
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Okay. An okay read. I felt there were a lot of areas where I thought the story moved too slowly. I think only a limited selection of people would enjoy the dry humour of the story.
Date published: 2018-03-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very good Dry complex story that reads on many levels.Not just. Love story but also a social commentary
Date published: 2018-03-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not a page turner, but an interesting thoughtful read How to Stop Time is not a page turner for sure, but it is a slow well thought out story that you will likely remember. I am not typically a reader of the time travel genre, therefore I was hesitant about what to expect from Matt Haig's newest novel. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the storyline is to follow and how normal Tom, Thomas Hazard the main character, comes across (even though he is supposed to be centuries old). Tom does not age like a normal person and instead ages so slowly that a normal persons life will pass and he will not have aged more than a few years. Lives and history passes Tom by and he is forced to change and move along with it so he does not raise suspicion about his non-aging appearance. When Tom realizes that he is not the only individual with his condition, he agrees to be a part of a group called the Albatross Society who offer him protection. The Albatross Society is headed by a wealthy man named Hendrich who is as much of a bully as he is a protector. Hendrich instills a fear of the outside world in Tom while at the same time giving him the finances and connections to allow him to change his identity as required. From the very beginning of their partnership, Hendrich warns Tom against relationship and especially falling in love. Relationships and friendships can only lead to questions about Tom's appearance and will raise suspicion about his condition. Unfortunately living a long life without true love or relationship has taken its toll on Tom and left him felling empty and unfulfilled. How to Stop Time is a story about finding one's self and realizing the immaterial value of being in relationship with others. My personal impressions of this novel were mixed. I enjoyed the story but didn't find it intriguing enough to read quickly in one sitting. I found the threads of Tom's interaction with historical figures a bit unnecessary and overworked. I could see through Hendrich's scheme a mile away and wished that Tom was not so trusting and naive after all his years of life. I also found myself wishing that Tom was more dashing and less regular. He is portrayed as an unremarkable History teacher when his many years of life should have made him a fascinating person. Overall, I have given How to Stop Time a 4/5 because I did enjoy the story and felt the writing style and creativity deserved high marks. If you are on the fence about this book I would recommend giving it a shot. It is a unique tale about life and relationship. It focuses on the true nature of people and how history can impact us all. I also want to thank Goodreads and the Publisher for a free copy of this book to read and review.
Date published: 2018-03-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Easy and enjoyable read It was one of the featured reads for the 50 book pledge and I thought I’d give it a try. . The narrator is Tom and he has a secret. He looks like a 41 year old but has a rare condition and is over 400 years old. He lived through the witch trials, performed with Shakespeare, sailed with Captain Cook and drank with Fitzgerald and Zelda. He wants to live an ordinary life. He also belongs to a secret group that protects people like him. . It’s also a love story. I think the author did a terrific job telling us about all the centuries of Toms life. I laughed, was heart broken, scared and joyful. It’s rare that a book gives me all the feelings. ., I’m glad I read it. If you don’t mind a bit of historical fiction with a bit of a love story tossed in, this is something I’d recommend. good start!!.
Date published: 2018-02-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book If a book tickles your brain, then you know it's worth not only reading it, but owning it. I strongly recommend this book if you want to enjoy every page of reading it.
Date published: 2018-02-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Read, Even Better Book Club Book How to Stop Time reads as if Matt Haig has had centuries to consider and define the human condition. Seeing as I'm fairly certain that's not possible, the power of this book can only be attributed to his authorial prowess. Haig has managed to write a book that is simultaneously ancient, spanning the wisdom of centuries, and also very much of this time, here and now in 2017 (UK publication) and 2018 (US and CAN publication). There were so many moments in this novel that stuck with me, as if they themselves were stuck in time. It is a novel sure to delight readers, but also to make them think, something we can no longer afford to pass over. We must think; we must remember history, or we will be doomed to repeat it. This book is perfect to read alone, but would also suit extremely well for a book club pick, as there is plenty there to discuss-- and I mean... that cover?! Who wouldn't want to carry this book around? I loved it! *thank you to Harper Collins Canada for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review* #indigoemployee
Date published: 2018-02-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Moving Exploration of Time, Happiness, and What it Means to Truly Live I think every one of us has, at one point or another, wished our lives were longer. That we could take the distance between one moment to the next and give it a nice, long pull. And when you think of your time in this world not in terms of decades, but hundreds, maybe even thousands, the possibilities can seem endless. You can witness hundreds of years of technological advances. Scour every corner of the globe for its natural and human wonders. Read and watch and play every piece of creative media out there. Sink yourself into your passions without the threat of a ticking clock looming over your head. Well, Matt Haig has heard your musings and replied with an old, but sensible, adage: Be careful what you wish for. Tom Hazard is weary. Living for hundreds of years is not sexy or liberating; it becomes the same pattern repeated over and over. His life has been a long stretch of loneliness punctuated by moments of happiness, then grief and hardships, and stretches and stretches of gray nothingness. Now he just feels lost. Lost in the maelstrom of identities he had worn over the years. Tom's elongated life span is not presented as a curse or a feat of magic, but rather a very unique medical condition, which I found refreshingly different from other stories with similar premises--he's not cursed or chosen, he just is. Those with the condition are known collectively as "albas," named after albatrosses that were once thought, mistakenly, to live a very long time. Their secrets and identities are protected with the help of the Albatross Society (which is kind of like a union), founded by a man called Hendrich. Hendrich is an interesting figure. I found him manipulative, arrogant, and divisive. He says the right things, in a long, winding, charming kind of way, but there's something hollow about it all. And I love that sense of wrongness in a character. Unfortunately, I found all the other side characters, especially Camille (Tom's love-interest-to-be) and the famous historical figures Tom encounters, lacking. Though they intrigued me, I felt like there were many more layers to them that we never got a chance to uncover, and that's a bit of a shame. The chapters alternates between flashbacks to Tom's earlier years--from medieval England to the Roaring Twenties--and the present. A simple but introspective prose makes it very easy to empathize with the main character and I quite loved his sense of humour. It's not the laugh-out-loud kind, but a wry, quiet one that threads through the narrative with ease. One of the most notable things about the book is that it's chock full of quotable lines. Ones you would frame and plaster all over your walls. Matt Haig has a talent for expressing sentiments that should feel trite and annoying but end up being very moving. There's such an unabashed honesty to his writing that I couldn't help but love. 7/10 was the review score that was hovering in my mind when I was about a chapter away from the end. Despite the lovely writing, I couldn't deny that the book had its share of flaws--a somewhat disappointing plot, a climax that felt rushed, and characters that felt unfulfilled. But then I encountered this passage: "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?" This paragraph knocked me breathless and frozen for what seemed like eternity. I imagined myself doing this--unshackling myself from all my fears and doubts and hurts--and the possibilities that I glimpsed sent chills down my spine and tears to my eyes. Like the rest of the book, there's a simplicity to the words. But the best truths are the simplest ones that you scorned in favour of the cool and flashy kinds. And I realized that's what makes this book so special. Matt Haig overturns the recesses of the human mind and shines a light on things that we all know peripherally but have never fully examined. One powerful paragraph can't erase all the criticisms I have, but it can damn well mute them. The blurb makes the book sound like a romcom with a scifi bent, but that's a shallow--and frankly, wrong--interpretation; those expecting a wild, passionate romance between Tom and Camille will be disappointed (their relationship doesn't even kindle until near the end). The story is rather more about one man's journey to find himself. And this man is you and me--all of us living in a world that feels alien and terrifying. This is a story about life and how we choose to live it, whether we have five or fifty or five hundred years ahead of us. How to Stop Time is a prime example of a comfort book. One that gently dares you to rise above your fears and take a chance, and just see what happens. I think this is one that I will end up revisiting many times in the future.
Date published: 2018-02-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Lovely writing Tom is an amazing protagonist- I'd recommend this to everyone
Date published: 2018-02-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it I will be thinking about the message I got from this story for a long time. Highly recommend it to anyone, particularly to anyone with a philosophical bent.
Date published: 2018-02-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Pretty good Matt Haig is one of my favourite authors and I was very excited to read this. Didn't quite meet my expectations, but was still a good read!
Date published: 2018-01-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from ok was hyped for this book, and was somewhat pleased, but not entirely. Good for a quick read, but will not match your highest expectations.
Date published: 2017-10-18

Editorial Reviews

“A brilliant exploration of what it is to love, and to be human, The Humans is both heartwarming and hilarious, weird, and utterly wonderful. One of the best books I’ve read in a very long time.”