I decided to read How to Stop Time by Matt Haig for two main reasons. First, I had read his previous novels Humans and The Midnight Library and had really enjoyed them both. I loved his humor, his writing style, and his exploration of the deeper ideas and challenges of the human condition. And then I read a review of How to Stop Time that described it in those terms. While it does live up to that billing, at the end I found myself less satisfied with this novel than the previous ones I had read.
The time travel in this book is not the traditional kind. Rather than there being a time machine, the main character has some sort of condition that causes him to age much more slowly. While not exactly immortal, he is four hundred years old in our time but looks only in his forties. The author uses this longevity to explore what it means to live as well as how such a long life might change the perspective of those living it.
Perhaps I am spoiled by the plethora of movies and books that explore the idea of time travel. As a result, I was too primed for that kind of book rather than what this book is. So while I didn’t enjoy it as much as his others, I think this book is right up there with them. In the future, I will try to temper my expectations and simply enjoy what I am reading without so much baggage.