A life through centuries needs courage

How to Stop Time - Matt Haig

How to Stop Time
von Matt Haig

Bewertet mit 5 Sternen

“People you love never die” (original quotation)


Tom Hazard is a history teacher in London and he likes what he does. But what seems to be a normal life, for him does not mean normality at all, because he was born on the third of March 1581, which means that now he is 437 years old. Not that he is immortal, it is only that he is aging very, very slow. In 1890, a doctor had called this condition “anageria”, his lifelong mentor Hendrich calls people like them (and there are more) albatrosses, or just albas.

The problem for people like Tom is that they have to change identity, places to live, before their neighbors are wondering and become suspicious. In 1603 he fell in love with Rose, they got married in 1607 and as she got older, the difference between him and her was even more visible. The 17th century was an especially dangerous period for people being somehow different, but also in our modern times, for Tom there seems to be no place to just live a normal life – but, what if? … what if he falls in love again? …

This story is much more than “fantasy” and definitely not “science fiction”. It is more a travel through time and centuries, with vivid descriptions of the Shakespearian London and Paris in the “Golden Twenties”. But it is not about time-travelling, as Tom cannot go back into the past.

Written in the 1st person and in chapters, the story is set in nowadays London and Tom thinks and speaks about his life in form of many flashbacks, each chapter heading defines time and location. 

Based on his experiences during more than 400 years, Tom now is ruled by the situation, by the time, by his fears that have grown from the risk of discovery of his special condition and above all he feels his loneliness. Based on his experiences he never wants to fall in love again. Some of his fears and concerns are given rise by Hendrich, who is much older than Tom and who is the Head of the Albatross Organization, who helps Albas with new identities. But Tom during the complete story is and remains a really loveable, often struggeling main character.

The story is enjoyable and entertaining to read, with exciting turns. For readers who like historical fiction and plots in different time settings.