How to Stop Time

How to Stop Time

by Matt Haig


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“A quirky romcom dusted with philosophical observations….A delightfully witty…poignant novel.” —The Washington Post
“She smiled a soft, troubled smile and I felt the whole world slipping away, and I wanted to slip with it, to go wherever she was going… I had existed whole years without her, but that was all it had been. An existence. A book with no words.”

Tom Hazard has just moved back to London, his old home, to settle down and become a high school history teacher. And on his first day at school, he meets a captivating French teacher at his school who seems fascinated by him. But Tom 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.

Unfortunately for Tom, 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 tells 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. It 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.
Soon to be a major motion picture starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780525522874
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/06/2018
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 627,514
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Matt Haig is the author of the internationally bestselling memoir Reasons to Stay Alive, along with five novels, including The Humans and The Radleys, and several award-winning children's books. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages.

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Excerpted from "How to Stop Time"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Matt Haig.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Reading Group Guide

1. The Albatross Society exists ostensibly to protect people like Tom; do you think a society like this should exist? Should people with anageria have a right to keep the condition a secret? And could such a society exist without being so nefarious? Would the public even take such a revelation seriously, or would anyone claiming to be so old wind up like Mary Peters, in a mental institution?

2. Over the course of his life, Tom traveled the world and met some of the most important and adventuresome people in history, but he also faced persecution and hardship because of his condition. Would you want to live for hundreds of years? If you could pick anything to do anywhere in the world, what would you do? Who would you want to meet?

3. Do you think Tom should have left Rose? Should he have come back? How do you think you would feel if after all that time, nearing the end of your life, a figure from your past showed up unexpectedly and completely unchanged?

4. Omai starts to gain public exposure for his condition when videos of him surfing appear on YouTube. In a post-internet world, would it even be possible to keep a condition like anageria a secret? Or would its exposure be inevitable?

5. Camille confronts Tom about who he is when she finds a picture of him in Chile from the 1920s, but he tries to cover his tracks by saying her accusations were science fiction. Do you think he should have been able to tell her the truth?

6. Tom tells his history students that ‘People believed in witches because it made things easier’; ‘People don’t just need an enemy, they need an explanation’; and ‘The first technology to lead to fake news wasn’t the internet, it was the printing press’ (page 56). Do you think that the rise of fake news is as old as news itself? How much of the hardships Tom faced in his life are due to this tendency?

7. Tom and his mother have to flee France when Tom is very young to escape religious persecution. Does Tom’s plight in his childhood and the rest of his life shed any light on the situation of immigrants and refugees today?

8. Matt Haig has said that researching this novel was the most fun he had while writing a book. If you were going to pick the times and places to base a story with a five-hundred-year-old protagonist, where and when would you pick?

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