Matt Haig rolls back the years in new novel How To Stop Time
From vampires in The Radleys to aliens in The Humans, Matt Haig has written about many long-living fantastical beings in his novels. In How To Stop Time he focuses on an individual, who is blessed – or cursed? – with the ability to age very gradually.
“What I wanted to do here is to give the feeling of time through this character,” Haig tells Red Alert. “But Tom, the main character, isn’t technically immortal. He just ages 15 times slower than other people. This means that he can have met Shakespeare, Captain Cook and F Scott Fitzgerald all in the same life. I just thought that was fun.”
As its title suggests, the process of tempus fugit is crucial to the unfolding story. “Time is the most fascinating subject, as everything is about space and time, isn’t it?” laughs Haig. “You can’t stop time, but in the book the characters who suffer from the ageslowing condition can reach a point where they have a supreme understanding of time. They can effectively see the future and the past and embrace the present.”
We might get to see How To Stop Time on the big screen too, as it’s been optioned for a film with Benedict Cumberbatch attached to play Tom, which, according to Haig, is like “a dream come true”.
How To Stop Time is published on 6 July.