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Publisher's Summary

"'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.

©2018 Matt Haig (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Mark Meadows is the expert narrator of this compelling audiobook.... Meadows does a fantastic job bringing to life all of the people Hazard interacts with over the centuries--from William Shakespeare to F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Captain Cook, and more." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Immortality is a bummer

One of my favorite YA trilogies (I won't tell you which) is awesome until the very end when the heroine beats the bad guy by acquiring immortality. While my colleague Katie loved this ending, it always majorly disturbed me, and How to Stop Time is the perfect illustration of why. Immortality is a bummer, guys. Matt Haig's protagonist, Tom, though not technically immortal—just looking forward to a 900+ years—is depressed. Everyone he's ever dared to love is dead, and he can't really settle into a home for more than a decade or so without raising serious—and dangerous—suspicions. In his current identity he's based in London and teaching (of course) history, and this is why, despite Tom's glumness, I just LOVED this book. I may not wish for immortality, but I do wish I could travel back in time. Tom's narration whisks you back to the Tudor period, the Jazz Age, the Gold Rush, and there's something truly remarkable about looking at history from a bird's eye view: Tom has our (and by "our" I mean "we mere humans") number, and we aren't the smartest of beasts. We are quite literally repeating ourselves. And While Tom may be exasperated and even a bit bored by our antics, this is the least boring book I've devoured in quite some time. 

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant

The book is masterful. The author tells the story in a series of no chronological glimpses, but the novel is seamless. Each dip into the author’s past builds and strengthens the story and especially our understanding of character—the author’s character. And overarching the story is a world of ideas about Time and our place within it.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

I really wanted to like this

This type of book is generally one of my favorite genres, but I just didn't like this story. The main character whines his way through the book, mourning the loss of his wife who died nearly 400 years ago. He is so caught up in the past that he can't enjoy his present which,I suppose, is the whole point of the book. Nevertheless, he is whiny and depressing and it seems like this whole premise could have been more exciting and developed more interestingly. I won't be returning this book, but I can't really recommend it.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Intriguing and compelling

This is a pleasant plot driven novel that is compelling and intriguing that gains momentum as it moves forward. Haig’s writing is clear and insightful. Mark Meadow performs the multiple characters well.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Frustrating narration

The narrator uses a bland stilted voice for the main character which makes the story, which I quite liked, much more of a grind that it needed to be, slow as the story is. But frustratingly the narrator does an excellent job with all the other voices. I thought the writing style does not help, being itself a little wooden at times.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Allan
  • Irvine, CA, United States
  • 02-16-18

How to Stop Time... Read this book...

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Someone who likes depressing, no hope plots... This thing is filled with a dull recounting of past memories, that are full of regrets, sadness and fretting over decisions.

What do you think your next listen will be?

I am not sure... I have to find something to cleanse my brain after this...

How could the performance have been better?

I am not qualified enough to suggest anything in a literary way... Not sure if its the story itself, or the narration... Most likely both... Although the story often dictates the narration...

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I am not sure at this moment... I am over half way through and I don't think I can finish.. I keep waiting to see if things improve. NO IT JUST KEEPS SLOGGING ON... DEPRESSING... DARK... NO HOPE!

Any additional comments?

I might skip ahead to the end to see if there is any hope... But think my only reward will be the end of the book... I will think twice about reading anything from this author again.... Just not my cup of tea....

8 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fun Read, but far faster than four centuries.

The concept of the immortal man is an old one, but this is handled with heart. There are a few nagging plot holes, historical characters quoting themselves and a very rushed ending, but it is a sweet book.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • C.
  • 06-03-18

Across the centuries

Across 4 centuries the hero perseveres and discovers what it means to be human and imperfectly perfect. Philosophy and intrigue wind around broken hearts and fear in this engaging and very well-performed audiobook adventure.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

great performance okay story.

i wanted to bail on the story. kind of wish I did because it left too many loose ends and the end was very cliche.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great

This was a imaginative and wonderful story. it was captivating and the narrator performed it beautifully.