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 and tame the past that is fast catching up with him.
The only thing Tom mustn’t 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.
How to Stop Time is a book that is going to be talked about for a while. It made headlines when Benedict Cumberbatch signed on to star in the movie adaptation before the book had even been released.
After reading the description and seeing it virtually everywhere, of course I had to see what all the fuss was about.
Tom is old. He looks forty but is actually more than four hundred. He’s part of a small group of people who age about fifteen times slower than the average human. But being blessed with a long life is more of a curse than a gift — you are guaranteed to lose all that matters to you and falling in love is the ultimate rule you can’t break.
The plot is told through two stories: present day London following Tom as he starts his new job as a history teacher, and multiple snapshots of Tom’s past where we get to see famous moments in history like the plague, Shakespeare, and 1920s Paris.
It’s a wonderful novel; surprisingly short, but captivating nonetheless. I can see why the film rights were snatched up before the book hit the shelves!
How to Stop Time is type of book that stays with you days after you’ve finished reading it.
Thanks to Canongate Books for a copy through NetGalley!