Tom Hazard has a rare condition where he ages far more slowly than other humans. He has been alive for over 400 years. The disadvantages of living this long are having to move and change identity when people start to notice that you don’t age, and the fact that you lose loved ones who age at a normal pace. Tom is a member of the Albatross society, run by a man called Henrich, which helps people with the condition relocate and change their identities every 8 years. Tom hopes that the society will help him find his daughter, who he believes also has the condition.
I found the concept of the story interesting, and in general I enjoyed Haig’s writing style. I did have a few bugbears however. There are a lot of flashbacks, and while some of these are effective others feel like they have been shoehorned in. Another element that felt shoehorned was all the celebrities that Tom happens to have come across in his life, like Shakespeare, Captain Cook and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Also, as a former teacher, I found the chapters where he was teaching quite unrealistic, as it seemed that he was more of a lecturer, which would never be effective with teenagers!
Despite these annoyances, it was a pleasant enough story and I did enjoy the writing style, therefore I will probably try another of Matt Haig’s books at some point.