How to stop time

Matt Haig, 1975-

Book - 2018

Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he's been alive for centuries. Tom has lived history--performing with Shakespeare, exploring the high seas with Captain Cook, and sharing cocktails with Fitzgerald. Now, he just wants an ordinary life. So Tom moves back his to London, his old home, to become a high school history teacher--the perfect job for someone who has witnessed the city's history first hand. Better yet, a c...aptivating French teacher at his school seems fascinated by him. But the Albatross Society, the secretive group which protects people like Tom, has one rule: Never fall in love. As painful memories of his past and the erratic behavior of the Society's watchful leader threaten to derail his new life and romance, the one thing he can't have just happens to be the one thing that might save him. Tom will have to decide once and for all whether to remain stuck in the past, or finally begin living in the present. How to Stop Time is a bighearted, wildly original novel about losing and finding yourself, the inevitability of change, and how with enough time to learn, we just might find happiness.

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Romance fiction
Fantasy fiction
New York, New York : Viking [2018]
Physical Description
325 pages ; 22 cm
Main Author
Matt Haig, 1975- (-)
Review by New York Times Review

ASYMMETRY, by Lisa Halliday. (Simon & Schuster, $26.) This stunning debut comprises two novella-like sections, one about a young editor's affair with an older author and the other about an Iraqi-American economist detained at Heathrow. The result is transgressive, shrewd and politically engaged. HOW TO STOP TIME, by Matt Haig. (Viking, $26.) Tom Hazard, the protagonist of Haig's new novel, is old - old "in the way that a tree, or a quahog clam, or a Renaissance painting is old," he tells us. He has a condition that causes him to age more slowly than others, but on the cusp of his 440 th birthday he appears to be suffering a midlife crisis. THE UKRAINIAN NIGHT: An Intimate History of Revolution, by Marci Shore. (Yale, $26.) Shore draws evocative portraits of the Ukrainian demonstrators who braved beatings and even death in 2013 to protest the government of President Viktor Yanukovych. Still, the revolution they sparked remains unfinished. THE TRIUMPH OF CHRISTIANITY: How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World, by Bart D. Ehrman. (Simon & Schuster, $28.) A best-selling scholar of the Bible explores how a small group of despised believers made their faith the dominant religion of the Roman Empire, thereby overthrowing an entire culture. DIRECTORATE S: The C.I.A. and America's Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, by Steve Coll. (Penguin, $35.) Coil's is a dispiriting tale of a 16-year war that has cost a trillion dollars and more than 2,400 American lives to little end. "The United States and its allies went barreling into Afghanistan," Coll writes, "because they felt that they had no alternative." DOWN THE RIVER UNTO THE SEA, by Walter Mosley. (Mulholland/ Little, Brown, $27.) A new private eye, an ex-cop named Joe King Oliver, makes his debut in this atmospheric crime novel, set in New York and featuring, as always with Mosley, an array of distinctive characters. PECULIAR GROUND, by Lucy Hughes-Hallett. (Harper/ HarperCollins, $28.99.) Agreat house in the English countryside, seen in both the 1600s and the mid-20th century, is the venue for a historical novel that uses walls, both actual and metaphorical, as its presiding metaphor. THE MAZE AT WINDERMERE, by Gregory Blake Smith. (Viking, $27.) Set in Newport, R.I., this novel intersects five stories from different eras, from the 17th century to the present day. Among the more notable characters is the young Henry James. BABY MONKEY, PRIVATE EYE, by Brian Selznickand David Serlin. Illustrated by Brian Selznick. (Scholastic, $16.99, ages 4 to 8.) Selznick's lavish pencil drawings enhance this early reader book about a detective who happens to be an adorable monkey. The full reviews of these and other recent books are on the web:

Copyright (c) The New York Times Company [July 29, 2018] Review by Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Tom Hazard is 439 years old! Impossible, you say? Not at all. He has a rare but not unique condition called anageria, which means he ages but very, very slowly. For every 15 years a normal person ages, he ages a single year. His condition began to manifest itself at puberty. To his ignorant, superstitious neighbors in sixteenth-century Suffolk, he appears not to age at all; this being clearly the devil's work, his mother is killed for being a witch. He then moves to London, where he meets Rose and, falling in love, they marry and have a daughter, Marion, but must move constantly before their neighbors begin to notice Tom's condition. Finally, to protect them, he must leave them and, for centuries, refuses to fall in love. But the heart has its reasons, and now, a history teacher in London, he falls in love with Camille, the school's French teacher, a fact he must keep from the vaguely sinister Henrich, head of the Albatross Society, which exists to protect albas, i.e., people like Tom. But, for various reasons, Tom's life is once again at risk. Haig's plot is obviously complex, but a marvel of invention it is seamlessly presented, telling an absolutely compelling story. It examines large issues history, time, purpose, and more but in an engagingly thought-provoking, compulsively readable way. It is, in every way, a triumph not to be missed.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2017 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Tom Hazard doesn't age. Or, he does, but very, very slowly. He was born in France in 1581, but like other "albatrosses" (those who carry the burden of living forever), a century to him passes like a decade or less. In this enthralling quest through time, Haig (Reasons to Stay Alive) follows his protagonist through the Renaissance up to "now," when Tom works as a history teacher in London. As Tom goes on various recruiting missions for the Albatross Society, the setting of the story moves from Shakespeare's Globe to F. Scott Fitzgerald's Paris to Bisbee, Ariz., and other far reaches of the earth. The main rule of the Albatross Society is that, in order to stay protected from a group of scientists who want to study and confirm the existence of the albatrosses, an albatross cannot fall in love. And yet, all the while, Tom nurses a broken heart and searches for his long lost daughter, Marion, who is also an albatross. "Humans don't learn from history" is one of the lessons Tom learns, and, despite everything he witnesses over the expansiveness of history, nothing can cure him of lovesickness. His persistence through the centuries shows us that the quality of time matters more than the quantity lived. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by Library Journal Review

Tom Hazard has a condition that's not in any official medical journal. Referred to in the 1890s as "anageria with a soft g," Tom-who was born in March 1581!-is still very much alive, currently working as a London schoolteacher, and appears to be about 40. Tom ages very slowly, and he's been privy to live history all those years, hanging out with Arthur Schopenhauer and William Shakespeare, speaking multiple languages, hopping the globe, and mastering around 30 instruments. He hides in plain sight, changing his entire life every eight years, enabled by the Albatross Society, which purports to keep him safe-but unattached. Living so long means repeatedly losing everyone he cares for, most mournfully, the one love of his life; the only thing keeping him going is searching for their daughter to whom he's passed on his anageric genes. Narrator Mark Meadows animates Haig's (The Humans) timeless protagonist with patient, crisp British English, with the occasional stumbles when he crosses oceans (an Arizona cowboy, he isn't!). VERDICT With increasing demand guaranteed since the announcement of a Benedict Cumberbatch-graced film adaptation, libraries should prepare to offer multiple formats. ["Aficionados of time travel fiction...will be drawn to this haunting tale. Haig adds depth to the genre with his rich depiction of one man's reaction as he learns to cope, flourish, and accept his lot in life": LJ 1/18 review of the Viking hc.]-Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon, -Washington, DC © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

In this new novel by Haig (Reasons to Stay Alive, 2016), a man of extraordinarily long life deals with a painfully ordinary question: what is it we live for?Tom Hazard, though he has gone by many names, has an unusual condition that makes him age exceptionally slowlyhe's more than 400 years old in 2017 but looks a mere 40-something. Tragic events taught him early that his seeming agelessness is a lightning rod for witch hunters and the dangerously suspicious in all eras. For protection, he belongs to the Albatross Society, a secret organization led by Hendrich, an ancient, charismatic man who's highly protective of his members and aggressive about locating and admitting other "albas" into the group. After assisting Hendrich in one such quest, Tom starts a new life in London; he's haunted by memories of his previous life there in the early 1600s, when he had to leave his wife and young child to ensure their safety. He's losing hope that Hendrich will help him find his daughter, who he's learned shares his condition. He muddles through his days until he meets a French teacher who claims she recognizes his face. Unraveling that mystery will lead Tom to re-examine his deeply etched pessimism. Meanwhile, readers are treated to memories of his past, including encounters with Shakespeare, Capt. Cook, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. Tom sometimes wallows overmuch about the changelessness of the human condition, and one might be forgiven for wondering why so much time has not done more to heal his oldest wounds. But Haig skillfully enlivens Tom's history with spare, well-chosen detail, making much of the book transporting.An engaging story framed by a brooding meditation on time and meaning. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.