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How to Stop Time

By: Matt Haig
Narrated by: Mark Meadows
Length: 10 hrs and 1 min
4 out of 5 stars (814 ratings)
Regular price: $28.00
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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
  • Em
  • 02-09-18

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. 

44 of 48 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Kyle
  • Atlanta, GA
  • 01-05-19

Terrible Story, Wonderful Narration

Interesting plot idea. I was gripped from the start. But that grip slowly loosened, and I slipped away, hour-by-hour, until finally, mercifully, this book was over. I kept waiting... and waiting... and waiting for something worthwhile to happen. The main character spends most of the first 9 hours whining about his love--who died 400 years earlier--and half-heartedly searching for his long-lost daughter.

This book couldn't figure out what it wanted to be.
Is it a love story? Great, Camille needs to play a more active role. Instead, she dances around in the periphery. They have one magical hour together, and then she flutters away in a pathetic display of juvenile anger.
Is it a thriller? Great, then the Albatross Society should play a greater role. Kill more people. Create more action. Something. Anything.
Is it a mystery? Okay, it had a pretty cool reveal at the end... but there was hardly any buildup to that reveal. So if you tune out for a few minutes, you may miss it completely.

Essentially, I felt this story was a jumbled mess, shooting off into random tangents over the course of several centuries. Each story line had intrigue, but none was developed enough to satisfy--and there were so MANY, each as horribly shallow as the next. It was as though the author couldn't decide where he wanted the story to go, so he made it go everywhere, and nowhere, all at once.

That said, the narrator was purely brilliant, and the only saving grace of this book. Mark Meadows kept me engaged throughout. His character voices were stellar. His pacing and melody were absolutely perfect. Through this overgrown mess, Meadows led (or, more appropriately, dragged) me to safety.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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

Went Down Easy But Nothing Ever Grabs

This is an easy read but I never really felt compelled to keep reading. I think I only did because it was for my book club. Picture a fast food burger which taste decent but you don't get why. My biggest complaint is how incredibly dull the main character is. Living forever you'd think he might spend 50 years making an art piece, traveling, experiencing everything he could. No, the sap mopes for 100s of years about love. I've been in love and had my heart broken, but, you get over it. Life goes on. Of course, many members of my bookclub thought that several hundred years of missing a lover was totally plausible. So, it coincides with how we invision love. We want it to be forever, never yielding. In reality, it's not that way, not very often.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    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.

22 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • KnA
  • NAPLES, FL
  • 04-21-18

beautiful, intriguing, bittersweet

many narrative puzzle pieces examined and slid together effortlessly to create a lovely, lyrical whole. take the ride, you won't regret it.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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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.

3 of 3 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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    2 out of 5 stars

How to Stop Time? Read this Book.

I was really looking forward to this book. I was a big fan of Haig's book The Radleys. And this got so much good prepress I was excited to read it. Unfortunately, as so often happens, prepress is deceiving. This book focuses on a man who looks around 40 but is actually closer to 500 years old. Evidently, there is a small group of humans who do not age at the same rate as everyone else, who loosely band together to protect each other and their secret. Tom Hazard, the main character, discovers the group when he finally gets a doctor to believe how old he is, and then the doctor is promptly killed because of the knowledge. Tom reluctantly buys into the group, their secrecy and how they manage to hide in plain sight. He also helps with the occasional dirty work, which can include murder. He does this because he is hopeful the group can help him find his real daughter who he believes has the same condition and has been alive almost as long as he has.

Unfortunately, the plot seemed to take the title literally. It moved so slowly, it was difficult to detect movement at all. I can handle slowly developing plots and I can handle plots that focus on a very depressed person. But I can't handle slow plots about depressed persons. It just wears me down. Haig is a brilliant writer of prose and can make the most unbelievable story believable. But this story could have been told in about half the time and would have been twice as good.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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

Encapsulating.

A wonderful adventure through and through. It is delivered in such a way that allows the listener to truly appreciate all the small things that life has to offer.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful