How to Stop Time
I read and loved this author’s most recent novel, The Midnight Library. If you remember my review of that one, I praised the writing, the imagination, the pacing. So I tried one of his earlier books – and felt the same about this one.
The premise of How to Stop Time is entirely different. Here we have a man who has a physical condition that slows his growth to a crawl. He is not immortal. He simply ages very, very slowly. In the present, he looks to be in his 40s. In fact, he is 439.
Imagine what his life has been like seeing those he cares for age and die, fending off those who suspect him of witchcraft, even watching his very normal mother – well, I won’t give that away here.
The vehicle that keeps the story moving is Tom’s search for his only child, a daughter, whom he left hundreds of years before when he realized his existence and the suspicion it brought was endangering the girl and her mother. He has adoring memories of the child and, after he left, was told that the girl is “like him.” But he hasn’t been able to find her until – well, I won’t give that away, either.
Suffice it to say that the plotting here – including a bonafide villain and a new love interest – is heartrending.
This is not a linear book. It goes back and forth in time, between the present-day Tom Hazard and the times from his pasts, some of which he lived under different names. I loved the back and forth – but then, I love historical settings, too, and Haig does them well.
How do you know that Shakespeare had bad breath? asks one of Tom’s students in the present day. I loved the answer.
Here is magical realism at its best. And How to Stop Time, the audiobook, is very, very well-narrated. On all levels, it’s a GO, friends!