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Review: How To Stop Time

A: Read Matt Haig’s latest novel! Its beauty, depth and humanity will make you forget the end of your lunch break, miss your Tube stop, take you beyond sleep. It’s as though the reading of this time-bending novel can stop time itself with the power of Tom Hazard’s story. 

It kept me cool during the recent heatwave.

Tom may look like an ordinary forty-odd year old but he has actually loved centuries. Through the terror of witch-hunts, to the stench of London with Shakespeare; the ephemeral jazz age with Fitzgerald to the excitement on the South Seas with Captain Cook, Tom lives through it all, until we meet him attempting to teach history to reluctant pupils in Hackney. 

Forever, Emily Dickinson said, is composed of nows. But how do you inhabit the now you are in ? How do you stop the ghosts of all the other ones from getting in? How, in short, do you live?

Tom has a rare condition which delays his aging; he is ‘an albatross’. Although not immortal, his aging process is so slow, he has to watch everyone he loves age around him. The skill of this novel is how Haig gets us to feel the emotional connection with Tom; his hope as he searches for his lost loves, how he tries to lose himself in the pleasures of the age, how he always feels disconnected from his surroundings.

…love food and music and champagne and rare sunny afternoons in October. You can love the sight of waterfalls and the smell of old books, but the love of people is off limits…’

Ultimately, this is a novel of hope, of joy in the present, of the power of love to sustain and give meaning to life. It is an easier read than these weighty themes might suggest; a unique love story with historical colour and humour .

That’s the thing with time, isn’t it? It’s not all the same. Some days -some years – some decades – are empty. There is nothing to them. It’s just flat water. And then you come across a year, or even a day, or an afternoon. And it is everything. It’s the whole thing.

As in his other novels, Matt Haig has successfully explored a complex idea with a light touch, injected both humour and pathos, to produce a joyful, moving and entertaining novel.     A delight to read! I shall be recommending it enthusiastically.
Thanks to Canongate for the prepublication proof.

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Posted by on 24/06/2017 in Life, review

 

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Book Review: The Silent Wife

Is this new addition to the wife-lit/misery-marriage canon worth the hype?
With a similarly dark cover, enticing cover quotes and rave reviews, one cannot avoid comparison with Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl.
Todd and Jodi have been together for over twenty years; not married although everyone assumes so. They live in an enviable apartment in Chicago; he a property developer, she a psychotherapist. They are childless but are accompanied by their dog, Freud. Their relationship reaches a crisis point as she discovers the latest in a series of affairs. Something has to be done.
Told in alternating chapters, the tension builds slowly. In fact, the cover ‘blub’ evokes a particular expectation which, in the end, is much more subtle.
The characters are well-rounded and engaging; there is much description of the trappings of their lives and its reflection of their unhappiness. This is a very well written thriller. The ending is not quite as expected; a little lacklustre compared to other thrillers. However, part of the enjoyment is in the journey, not just the destination, and I would recommend this ride. It’s worth (most of) the hype.

Bookwormmum.wordpress.com
(received from realreaders.co.uk)

 
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Posted by on 25/03/2014 in Uncategorized

 

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