|How To Stop Time by Matt Haig is most likely the best book published in 2017.
In How To Stop Time Tom Hazard has a condition called anageria, a condition that slows down the ageing process. He’s lived for over four hundred years and yet looks about forty.
Tom’s condition is kept a secret from the world because he and people like him come to harm when other people find out about it. Tom is protected by an organisation whom help keep knowledge of the condition a secret and whom help him and others like him to stay safe.
Here’s how it works: Every eight years he gets to choose a new life doing whatever he wants, wherever he wants and gets to live it for eight years. In exchange at the end of every eight years he must complete a task, set by the organisations manipulative leader Hendrich.
As well as surviving, Tom is also looking for Marion, his daughter, from hundreds of years before who has the same condition as him. Hendrich is helping with this.
Tom’s character is intriguing, his naivety despite living for over four hundred years is endearing and his past and present are fascinating. The reader is pulled in from the very first word. In How To Stop Time not a single word is wasted or unnecessary, which is a credit to the editing. The reader will whiz through the short chapters eager for more.
The description ignites the reader’s imagination and takes them to the right place and time throughout.
The plot seamlessly transitions from the present to Tom’s memories of the past and back again. Tom is a skilled storyteller, which comes as no surprise when the reader reminds himself/herself that he was written by the brilliant Haig.
The risk with this sort of book is that the pacing is slow because some of it is set in the past. However Haig’s pacing was flawless throughout, never being to slow or to fast.
Tom tells the story in first person perspective which is perfect for this sort of novel, which is essentially about living in the now, not existing and living in love.
Marion only comes in at the end of the novel and the reader will be left wanting to know more about her and her life.