“How To Stop Time” by Matt Haig – The Guy is Really Really Old

I bought this book from a local bookshop since it was on the best-seller shelf a few years ago. However, I just started and finally finished this book a few weeks ago. I decided to read it during my commute, morning to work, and evening going home. These days, those are the only time I had for pleasure reading.

First of all, the best thing about the book is that the author divides it into small digestible chapters. I can finish one or two chapters easily while commuting, which is perfect. Well, you know the feeling when you have to stop reading in the middle of a chapter. It’s super annoying. So, if you are a commuting reader like myself, this book is a delight. Also, the way the timeline is going back and forth to give context to the following chapters gives it an additional bonus point. It is not a novel approach, but still interesting nonetheless. Not everybody can execute this brilliantly.

Now, about the story. The book tells us a story about a near-immortal human with 400+ years of life experience. Given the premise, my expectation was the overall atmosphere of the plot will be more on the dark and sorrowful side, but somehow I felt it more on the light-hearted and warm side. Plus, some components of the plot are not very believable to me, particularly, the ending. This part is not very well-rounded, underwhelming, and anti-climatic. There is a sense of rushy feeling to finish the story quickly, probably because the author needs to keep the book-length short? Lastly, I understand the necessity of giving away some takeaway messages to the readers. However, when the points are given repetitively, I felt the messages were getting less and less impactful every time.

To summarize, it’s a good book, an entertaining one. However, I must say it’s not on the “OMG, you have to read this!” shelf. There is not much of a novelty about the approach (non-linear timeline), but the storytelling is brilliant. If you are interested in knowing how a near-immortal human can live in modern-time London (and have a few hours to spare), please read this book.

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