Disclaimer: I was sent this proof copy for a review by Canongate, at my own request. What follows is my honest opinion.
How To Stop Time is (finally) out today. Whew! Take it from me; this is a great book. And I really enjoyed it. Take it from me, if you like time travel, fiction, and just a little sprinkle of humour, you’ll love this book. (Oh, and if you’re a fan of the eighties classic Highlander, you’ll love this book. Like me!)
As not to give too much away, I’ll tell you the very basic plot line, in spite of the fact that there are many layers to dissect: Tom Hazard has an ailment, meaning that he ages not as fast as other humans. In fact, he has been alive for centuries. And it costs him dearly. But who would suspect this from a London history teacher?
I really like the structure of the book, it that there are continual flashes forward and backwards in time-perfect for somebody who loves history like me! There are appearances from Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, the Bard, Captain Cook, Witch Hunters, and many more. They interact with Tom, whilst he contemplates his own ailment. And the way that they are characterised is just so vivid-which makes the novel somewhat alive. Because that’s what you’d want in a history teacher, isn’t it?
My only real feedback is that the protagonist of Tom Hazard isn’t always in touch with reality-obviously, being somebody who has been alive for over three centuries, you wouldn’t be. But I feel that this lets the book down, just a little bit. For example, when interacting with boys in his class, he almost seems as if to not comprehend the situation-even during a mugging incident. He is seemingly away in the clouds, and not focused at all. The plot line could have been a little bit snappier as a result. (But then again, dear readers, that’s just my
humble opinion. Each of us are different in our tastes, after all.
I will admit that the end had me just a little bit teary. This book is innately human to the core, which can teach us a lot about ourselves. to anyone reading this, it’s worth reading. And I give it a rate of 14/15.
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