How to Stop Time Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
"'The first rule is that you don't fall in love,' he said.... 'There are other rules too, but that is the main one. No falling in love. No staying in love. No daydreaming of love. If you stick to this you will just about be okay.'"
A love story across the ages - and for the ages - about a man lost in time, the woman who could save him, and the lifetimes it can take to learn how to live
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 captivating 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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|Listening Length||10 hours and 1 minute|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||February 06, 2018|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #2,376 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#11 in Time Travel Science Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#29 in Time Travel Fiction
#35 in Humorous Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
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Top reviews from the United States
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How To Stop Time is my favorite book of 2018. The author Matt Haig has written a masterpiece about a man who does not age. Tom, the lead protagonist lives for centuries yet remains young in appearance. When we think of time today, we never think there is enough. But what if time was endless? What if we had an infinite number of tomorrows? This book is a glimpse into the way we think about time and the meaning of memories mixed with a fear of the future. It took me three days to read this novel, not because it was hard to read but because I did not want to finish. I have gained a new perspective about life. How often can you say that about any book? I can promise you, “How To Stop Time” will not disappoint and will leave you inspired. My Dad lived to 91 and I remember at his funeral the number of people who told me that he had lived a good long life. Honestly, it made me furious because I wanted more time. 91 years of age was not enough for a beloved father who I thought would live forever. This book reminds me that Dad does live on, in the beauty of a hymn he loved, the joy of watching my grandson recite the family prayer at dinner, my daughters laughing at something Dad said years ago because in cherished memories is the precious revelation that love never dies. For that, I am grateful. Read this book!
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How to Stop Time is a thought-provoking read. Matt Haig envisions a world where a small group of individuals age at a much slower pace than the average human. While the main character, Tom Hazard, looks 41, he is actually centuries old. To avoid being institutionalized or treated as a medical research subject, Tom has moved around his entire life staying nowhere more than 8-10 years. When the book opens, Tom has decided to return to London and teach history at a local low-income high school. He is tired of constantly being on the move and wants to have an ordinary life. As his quest for a normal life unfolds, we are taken back and forth in time to learn about the many places and people Tom has experienced over his long and storied life.
I loved the history aspects of the story. In his lengthy life, Tom met Shakespeare, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Captain Cook and many others, and their encounters were so much fun to read about. Haig focuses on relationships and their importance in people’s lives. He also observes that humans are bound to repeat the mistakes of the past, a sentiment that addresses what the United States is experiencing right now. I don’t generally quote books in my reviews, but I felt that the following statement completely encapsulates what we are going through right now: “The lesson is that ignorance and superstition are things that can rise up, inside almost anyone, at any moment. And what starts as a doubt in a mind can swiftly become an act in the world.” His recognition that humans are bound to repeat the mistakes of the past is a sobering and timely statement.
I enjoyed How to Stop Time. Occasionally, I was ready for it to move along a little faster but overall it was a very entertaining read.
Top reviews from other countries
If ever a book deserved 5 stars it's this one. I devoured this book and struggled to tear myself away from it but the kids needed feeding, the boyfriend needs attention & I suppose I had to sleep 😒
This book was so well written that I had to keep reminding myself I was reading a work of fiction and not an autobiography. I got completely caught up in Tom and his story. The author effortlessly took the story from present day to varying times in Tom's life but it never felt confusing or strange. You totally believed it.
The voice and atmosphere of each point in history was captured vividly and I could really see Tom there doing those things. Those little details, minute touches of information about things that actually happened, made it all the more real.
I loved this book so much I was genuinely sad for it to end. I could've kept reading about Tom's life for much longer. This is one of those rare books that changes your perception, makes you think about life in a different and stays with you long after you've read it. I know this is a book I'll read many times over.
Parts I liked:
First - the good stuff. The historical sections were really interesting and opened up worlds I didn't know about; the part about the witch hunts and his mother were especially haunting and engaging. The premise is interesting and novel, almost like time-travel but without the narrative problems often encountered in time travel stories. It's an effective but simple concept that really makes you want to read it to find out what happens. Some of the writing is very beautiful and touching and there were parts which genuinely moved me - I found the part towards the beginning where Rose dies really heartbreaking.
The not so much parts:
Despite the good points, I often found it a chore to read. I can't really put my finger on exactly why - I just didn't really care about most of the characters (aside from what I've mentioned above). The main character in particular is exceptionally whiny. The premise is a good one but I don't think it has been executed in a very engaging way. I find with Matt Haig's writing I am often very aware of the authorial voice, which slips into ponderous/pretentious at numerous points. He is determined to tell the reader how to approach life, and he does this in quite a clunky way. Some of the lines are clearly meant to be breathtaking "oh I never thought of it like that" type lines, but I think this just takes the reader out of the story. All these added up to me giving up on the book - not really deliberately, but I just picked it up more and more infrequently and found it a chore whenever I did so, until eventually I just stopped picking it up. I like Matt Haig and I like some of his other books (in particular "Reasons to Stay Alive" which is wonderful). This just didn't do it for me, sorry.
In parts, it was quite fun for its depictions of different historical periods, its worldbuilding around the concept of these “albatrosses” as the long-lived ones call themselves, and its meditations on what he practical and psychological effects of a life like that would be.
But I thought it was pretty flawed in several ways. Firstly, it couldn’t resist the obvious trap of having the hero participate in far too many famous historical events and meet far too many famous historical people than was remotely believable. I was much more interested – and much more able to suspend belief – when it came to scenes of him living a normal life in medieval or Tudor times.
Secondly, after centuries of forsaking love, partly to avoid being hurt, partly due to the rules of his society, it was hard to see what suddenly attracted him to his modern day love interest. It felt rather sudden and forced. And thirdly, I found both her and modern day him so over-exaggeratedly right on in their interactions with each other and with the students at their school.
Overall, this had an interesting premise which it partially delivered on, but I can’t wholeheartedly recommend it.
Positives though, I enjoyed the early years, the time of witches, witch-finders and suspicion, and the evoking of British towns and cities at various times in history. Also the little insights into how people used to think, like rotten and blackened teeth were once a sign of prosperity, as those people could afford sugary treats. But it is to long, and it did feel a tiny bit preachy at times, and the current day stuff was very plain, rather dreary at times. So not all bad, just not that great either. Apparently Benedict Cumberbatch is attached to a possible film.
As could be expected of a story about a man who lives on and on as his loved ones die, there is an underlying Sartre-esque despair to the narrative, which is played with ironically by the inclusion of a French teacher as the love interest. Haig’s novel is thoroughly British, however. Self-doubt, subtle irony, Shakespeare, Tudor cottages, scenes of deprivation and poverty... Sounds like Python doesn’t it. And despite its somewhat heavyweight themes there is an edge of almost farcical satire to How to Stop Time.
As its cheeky title suggests, this is not a novel that takes itself too seriously. The prose and structure are both simple and beautiful. The characterisation is sophisticated and economical, the pace well-measured throughout. It’s a page turner from from beginning to end. A great one if you fancy something from the more Literary end of the science fiction genre.