Review: How To Stop Time
How To Stop Tme - Matt Haig
Ok, so fair warning because I’m nice like that: I’m about to go CAPSLOCKING italicising fangirling CRAZY. If that’s not your thing, if you want me to sit here and sedately say ‘oh yas, that book was rather good’ well, now be the time to close your browser and go and do something else and I promise I won’t be offended because you see, the thing is, is that I just read Matt Haig’s How To Stop Time and I don’t know what to do really, other than keysmash a little bit about the beauty that is this book.
IT’S SO FUCKING GOOD.
Book love. I am totes in book love. This book is book of the year for me so far. I want more stars. If Goodreads would let me give a book ten stars then I WOULD GIVE THIS BOOK TEN STARS. I love it that much.
& I don’t know much about Matt Haig. I have How To Stay Alive and A Boy Called Christmas on my bookshelf but I haven’t read either of them (why have I not read either of them what is my life what are my choices) and I made grabby hands at this book purely because I follow Matt on Twitter where he’s pretty excellent and also because the blurb.
This is the blurb, actually. It’s a good one.
'I am old. That is the first 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.' 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. From Elizabethan England to Jazz-Age Paris, from New York to the South Seas, Tom has seen a lot, and now craves an ordinary life. Always changing his identity to stay alive, Tom has the perfect cover - working as a history teacher at a London comprehensive. Here he can teach the kids about wars and witch hunts as if he'd never witnessed them first-hand. He can try to tame the past that is fast catching up with him. The only thing Tom must not do is fall in love. How to Stop Time is a wild and bittersweet story about losing and finding yourself, about the certainty of change and about the lifetimes it can take to really learn how to live.
Anyhow. Yes. I read the blurb and was a a bit like YES I WANT TO KNOW ABOUT THIS and now here I am, I’ve read it and I loved it and #seducemewithprettywords. This book, I suspect, will be shoved down the thoughts of all the people I know ever except not actually all because that would be ridiculous and I’ve already pre-ordered an actual copy because some books are too special to just live on my Kindle and LEMME TALK AT YOU ABOUT IT A LITTLE BIT PLEASE.
It’s so beautiful.
That’s the first thing and you know how I’m a total sucker for the pretty words used prettily. Haig does that. His writing is lush.
It’s more than that though, it’s more than just excellent prose, it’s….I dunno. He knows his subject. I mean if we assume that what his subject is, is human nature obvs and not you know, a person who has been alive for all of time. Human nature. He knows that.
& he knows me.
Which, well, that might be the weirdest thing I have ever written on this blog because obviously there is no way that Matt Haig sitting wherever Matt Haig sits, and I know not where that is except it’s not here, knows a single thing about me. He doesn’t know me. That’s ridiculous. SO HOW THEN? Tell me, HOW DOES HE WORDS. HOW DO YOU DO IT MATT HAIG?! How do I feel, truly, like he knows me; I feel better for having read this book, I honestly do.
Anyway. I wash my hands of my own weirdness. I don’t think I’m making sense, much. Back to the point that seemed to make a little sense: Human nature. He seems to know it in the way that suggests he sees things, like if you were in a room with him, he’d be taking all in, aware of actions and reactions and interactions and gestures and tone of voice that let him see far beyond whatever’s on the surface. This book goes deep, like, this book is not about me, oh I’m back to that again. I’m sorry, I think we’re just going to have to go with it. This book is not about me. There is nothing about this book that resembles my life and yet, and yet, somehow I feel like Matt Haig has taken a look into my very soul and ain’t that just something?
It’s compelling writing also, writing that gets under your skin and draws you in and it’s absolutely 100% definitely what is known as A Page Turner. I could not stop doing the page turning. I did not want to do anything other than inhabit this world. These worlds I guess because this book spans hundreds of years. I was hoping the title was literal actually because how to stop time, that’s a thing I definitely wanted to know. I wanted time to stop whilst I read. I wanted nothing but what was going on in those pages.
Also the history. I love history. This is a book that brings history to life and I loved that and it made me laugh and actually I don’t know if it was supposed to but it did, it made me laugh and it made me teary and it made me lose sight of myself for a little while and it’s…it’s incredible storytelling is what it is. Storytelling the way storytelling should be: the taking of the impossible and making it entirely convincing and believable and wonderful.
It’s a fucking treat and I loved it.
How To Stop Time will be published in July. Read it, please please please read it.