Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Review: How to Stop Time

I finished listening to How to Stop Time by Matt Haig a couple of days ago and I'm still not entirely sure what to make of it.

On one hand, I think the concept is clever. Like The Time Traveler's Wife, I think it's fascinating to imagine a fundamental rule of our existence doesn't hold for a group of individuals and see how a story can unfold from there. The storytelling and characters are likable enough that I kept listening, excited to hear where the story was going. And the philosophical ruminations on time, love and the fine line between a blessing and curse were absolutely thought provoking.

On the other hand, I did find the story a bit tedious at a times. I can't tell if the use of flashbacks is brilliant or clumsy. The same goes for the Forrest Gump style interactions with famous individuals: is it novel, or cliche? And is the philosophy espoused, like "how to stop time," profound hard-earned insights or merely deep-sounding chatter most suitable for your Facebook feed?

Take the final resolution: it had an almost anti-climactic feeling to it. It seems like once the main character untangles his truth, his problems solve themselves. But perhaps that's by design? While I may wish for a Die Hard style action movie finish, often our greatest challenges play out in our heads where realizing the will to move forward is the decisive step.

Ultimately, any book that has me rolling around so many questions in my head is a winner.

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