How to Stop Time
by Matt Haig
Canongate

Matt Haig is a writer on the up. Like his earlier novel The Humans (2013), which follows an alien that has landed on Earth, How to Stop Time seasons sharp observation of everyday life with a hint of magic. This comes in the form of a not unfamiliar McGuffin. Our hero and narrator, Tom Hazard, is a teacher in London who is cursed/blessed with a strange condition: he was born on March 3, 1581. An immortal, he’s on Facebook but has also hung out with Shakespeare and F. Scott Fitzgerald. What really drives the central melancholy romance is a combination of vampire stories, Highlanderand The Time Traveler’s Wife: Tom’s tragedy is that he simply outlives Rose, the woman he loved. The result is sentimental in a good way. What cuts through the slush is Haig’s finely developed sense of the absurd, his way of evoking loneliness and astute unspooling of time’s long perspective.