How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

This was the Hudson literary guild selection for March. 

It has an interesting premise – that there are people in the world who age so slowly that it would be centuries before they actually die of old age.  Our hero, Tom Hazard, was born in France, and fled from there with his mom due to religious persecution and ended up in rural England. She was killed under suspicion of being a witch because of Tom’s condition.

He fled to London where he met notables like William Shakespeare. Over his life he sailed with Captain Cook, shared drinks in Paris with F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda. And through all those years he’s been trying to follow the advice of his mentor, which is to not fall in love. And Tom has tried hard to follow that advice, even though he’d loved once, and greatly.  

Now in modern London he meets a woman who has touched his heart… And as he tries to avoid feeling more for her, Tom begins to realize that his mentor may not have his best interests at heart. 

The story is told in memory flashbacks from modern London to various past times, and it is fascinating how Tom, like Forrest Gump, somehow manages to meet many notables through the centuries. 

Frequently throughout the book, Tom notes how history keeps repeating itself, that the same types of people exist over and over and over.  And if one is going to live for centuries, how does one stay optimistic about the future?  So, as a chronic worrier, I found the following quote interesting…” Everything is going to be all right, or, if not, everything is going to be, so let’s not worry.”