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An Ocean of Minutes

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  196 Ratings  ·  89 Reviews
“Amidst the breathtaking world Thea Lim has created in AN OCEAN OF MINUTES is a profound meditation on the inhumanity of class and the limits of love. It takes immense talent to render cruelty both accurately and with honest beauty – Lim has pulled it off. This is a story about the malleability of time, but at its core lives something timeless.”
- Omar El-Akkad, author of A
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published July 10th 2018 by Touchstone (first published June 26th 2018)
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I gobbled this book up in one day! I found it utterly fascinating and was gripped by the storyline from the get go.

The premise is that by the year 1981 America is in the deadly clutches of a flu pandemic. In this version of reality, time travel has been made possible in the future by a large corporation. Originally it was hoped that a flu vaccine from the future could be sent back to before the initial outbreak that caused the pandemic. However, due to an absence of technology time travel canno
May 06, 2018 added it
Shelves: discarded-shelf
So, Polly and Frank love each other and Frank falls ill with a pandemic flu that is very rare. In order to get treatmnt they need a lot of money, so Polly ends up offering to work for a time travelling company. They make a pact to find each other again when she is "deployed" to 1993, the time to which she is gonna travel. But when she arrives it is 5 later and the pandemic flu has wiped almost all population. So she gets scared and then lots of bizarre and silly situations happen: she gets on th ...more
An Ocean of Minutes pulls a bait-and-switch that I expect will frustrate and confuse some readers. It appears to promise a pandemic/dystopia with a time-travel twist, and a bit of a love story to boot. Instead, the book takes you on a tour of the immigrant experience.

Polly, our protagonist, is not just a time traveler, she's a refugee from the past and an indentured labourer trying to work off the cost of her passage. She suddenly finds herself on the lowest rung of society, no status, money, or
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An Ocean of Minutes is a wonderfully crafted story about love, independence, and reality. Lim captures the essence of young idealized love and weaves it into a story about heartbreak, loss, and the lengths people are willing to go for the ones they love.

An Ocean of Minutes focuses on Polly as she is thrust into a new life to save the man she loves, Frank. In order to escape the flu pandemic and save Frank, Polly agrees to travel twelve years into the future and work for TimeRaiser. Once she arri
Gemma F
Dec 6, 2017

Can’t wait to read this! So proud of you, Auntie Thea!!
Thanks so much to Touchstone Books for providing my free copy of AN OCEAN OF MINUTES by Thea Lim - all opinions are my own.

This beautiful debut novel has a very interesting premise with stellar writing and a perfectly constructed story. By the time the world reaches 1981, it is overcome with a terrible flu epidemic and Polly is desperately trying to save the one she loves, Frank. Our twenty-something protagonist signs a contract with TimeRaiser, a company that sends uninfected people to the futu
Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
I was intrigued by the unique premise of An Ocean of Minutes and by the publisher's comparison with The Time Traveler's Wife and Station Eleven. A dystopian tale, little time travel and a love story that asks, "can true love stand the test of time?" Yes please!

Buuuuut, the similarities between the three books is weak. Yes, there's a flu pandemic (Station Eleven) and yes there's time travel (Time Traveler's Wife) but that's where the connections end. I wanted to feel more energy, heartache, passi
Jun 07, 2018 rated it really liked it

Visit the locations in the novel

Can true love withstand the test of time if one person travels to the future while the other is left behind ? What happens when there’s also a deadly virus to contend with? That’s the exciting premise behind this read which I really enjoyed. A bit silly in parts but in a good way. I haven’t read many time travel/sci fi books in a while but this was a lot of fun.

Review to follow once I've returned to 2018
2.5 stars Hmmm...I'm thinking this is one of those books that could have been amazing but wasn't.. I'm a huge fan of dystopian sci fi and I love time travel stories, but An Ocean of Minutes was quite disappointing as a whole. For the record, I did not see any similarity with Station Eleven except that both stories involved a flu pandemic. And there was no comparison between this story and The Time Traveller's Wife (which is one of my favourite books of all time) .except that they both include ti ...more
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really loved this new take on the time travel / alternative history story, which is actually really a love story more than anything else. In 1981, young lovers Frank and Polly, who are from Buffalo in New York State, are visiting Galveston in Texas when a deadly virus hits, killing thousands. When Frank contracts the disease, it transpires that treatment is available, but it’s very expensive. A company called TimeRaiser has developed time travel, but can only send people into the future.

Joanna Park
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
An ocean of minutes is a book that manages to combine quite a few genres.  It’s little bit dystopian and sci fi but it’s mainly a beautiful, usual love story.

The world that has been created in this book is very intriguing and I enjoyed learning more about it.  It’s quite similar in parts to the world that we know in that there is a definite class system in play with the poorer people trying to do anything to get by.  The only way some people can afford the costly treatment for the flu epidemic t
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, read-in-2018
Thanks to Touchstone for sending me a copy to review!

This is a pandemic story, but there's a twist: time travel has been invented in the future. If you agree to work as a bonded laborer, the company TimeRaiser will not only send you ahead and out of harm's way but also give your loved one the life-saving treatment that can't be found anywhere else.

And that's what Polly does to save Frank. They make plans to reunite in twelve years, but when Polly gets rerouted an extra five years she finds herse
Stef L
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Exhilaratingly imaginative.

Imagine a world where 17 years go by in the blink of an eye and you awake to a world that isn’t yours.

A world where your memories are all that remain. A world that is changed beyond all recognition.

Imagine that you haven’t aged whilst all around you people have experienced every minute of a pandemic that has changed the way that everything will be forever.

An Ocean of Minutes is quite simply a book like no other. It’s originality is astounding. The writing is spellb
Touchstone Books
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Truly a must-read for fans of Station Eleven—Thea is an exceptionally talented writer to watch.
Danielle Tremblay
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have to say straight away this is one of the best books I’ve read in such a long time so I was extremely happy to be asked to be involved in the An Ocean of Minutes Blog Tour.

Prepare for a bombardment of superlatives…

I absolutely loved this book even though I felt emotionally destroyed by the end of it. I’m desperate to get hold of a hard copy (that cover!) and also when this gets turned into a Hollywood film I want to be part of the casting team: I have some great ideas!

I was initially drawn
Dana Portwood
For fans of The Time Travelr's Wife and Station Eleven, An Ocean of Minutes is a stunning story of relationships, time and power. When survival on earth is endangered by a viral outbreak, Polly trades years of service by time traveling to the future for treatment for her lover Frank in the present. Although they arrange to meet each other twelve years in the future, Polly is rerouted five years past the time she and Frank arranged to meet. When she arrives, the world has changed completely and s ...more
Jul 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Just as the invention of air travel had made it easy to go, but no easier to leave, the invention of time travel made time easy to pass, but no easier to endure.

Thea deftly paints images that seep into your consciousness, and even into murky stark dreams. This is an indelibly sad story that I could not put down because I ached so much to see what happened to Polly. She indentured herself as a time traveler to save her love Frank who caught a pandemic virus. When she appears 5 years further than
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.

When her boyfriend (Frank) falls ill from the 'flu during a pandemic, Polly agrees to go to work for a corporation who will, in return, pay for Frank's medicine and treatment. The only problem is the job is 12 years in the future. TimeRaiser developed time travel and are recruiting people to work in a future world where the pandemic no longer exists and to bring things back to their former glory. Polly and Frank make their plans to meet up in the futu
Jul 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-own, 2018
Anna Elliott
I very much enjoyed reading this book. It mainly focuses on Polly and her experiences upon her arrival in the future. The society into which she arrives is not what she had expected and there was a real sense of shadowing her through this minefield of the unknown.

For my full review please visit my blog at: http://leftontheshelfbookblog.blogsp...
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I had to sit with myself after reading this one. At first, I thought it was another immigrant's story. I thought it would be about some family coming to this country and making the best life they could. Then, I started reading and saw it was more dystopian with a little science fiction where people are traveling to the future to help save themselves and their loved ones from a pandemic threatening to kill everyone.

But now that I've finished the book and sat down with it, I realized that this is
Josie Jaffrey
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: josie-s-reviews
This story follows Polly as she tries to find her feet twelve years into the future, while flashing back to her life with Frank.

It's an oddly meditative book. It has a lot to say about grief, our inability to catch a moment in time, and the inevitability of change. It also raises a lot of thinking points around the inequalities of class and race. Those areas of the book were explored eloquently and with gorgeous turns of phrase - the writing in those sections was great.

And I enjoyed it. I wanted
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the story of Frank and Polly although they spend little time together. The world is suffering from a really nasty flu pandemic. Luckily, time travel has been invented so people who have not contracted the virus yet are offered the chance to travel into the future to work in bonded labour. In exchange for which their nominated loved one will get medical treatment. It's only 12 years into the future so Polly jumps at the chance if it would save Frank. He's not so convinced and his doubts a ...more
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was one of my most anticipated reads for spring and it didn't disappoint! 

Frank and Polly are young and in love, it is 1981. But a pandemic flu is on the rise. And when they find out Frank is ill with it, Polly signs up to travel to the future and work for the company Time Raiser who has invented time travel. They will not only send you into the future keeping you out of harm's way from the flu  but in exchange for being a bonded labor once you get there they will give your loved one the li
Keriann Davey
I received this book via the publisher for an honest review.

So the premise of this book sounded amazing, Polly and Frank live in 1981 where a flu virus has broken out, Frank has become infected in order to help him Polly volunteers with a company called TimeRaider who are sending people to the future in order to help rebuild America, Polly is to travel to 1993 and arranges to meet Frank the first Sunday on September at a set location, however something goes wrong and Polly ends up in 1998 and Fr
Danielle P
Polly and Frank met, fell in love, and secretly planned to get married. One day, they decided to drive from Buffalo, NY to New Orleans, but somehow overshot it by 3 hours. They ended up in Texas, where they got stuck because of the flu epidemic that rapidly spread throughout the country.

When Frank develops the disease, Polly, to get him access to health benefits, signs on to travel 12 years into the future where she'll work off her bond to TimeRaiser, the company that controls the technology tha
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Crazy/Beautiful, a beautiful chaotic love story like no other that I've read. Thea Lim had crafted a masterpiece infusing love, time travel, and testing love's limits. I was left utterly speechless at its end. I greatly appreciated the deep connection that was created between Polly & Frank. What was most striking was the strength and fire that was lit inside Polly. Polly was a fascinating character that had to endure a lot in testing time and the strength of their love. Thea has created a pa ...more
Amy Lynn
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
can true love stand the test of time..... even when one of you is tossed 15 years into the future? Polly takes a chance that making this time leap and working off the debt to pay for Frank's medical treatments will be worth the risk. When she discovers she is struggling to find Frank again she is in an unfamiliar place, with no way to survive herself. Is their love strong enough to survive? Or has Frank found another love in the 15 years they were apart.
Jul 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, netgalley
While Thea Lim did a good job of fleshing out her main character, the rest fell flat and felt underdeveloped. This was very evidently a first novel, that at times felt confusing due to the subject matter (time travel). Possibly needing tighter editing, there were a few parts of the novel towards the end, where it was confusing as to what point in time the story was taking place in.
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Thea Lim's writing has been published by the Southampton Review, the Guardian, Salon, the Millions, Bitch Magazine, and others, and she has received multiple awards and fellowships for her work, including artists' grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.

She holds an MFA from the University of Houston and she previously served as nonfiction editor at Gulf Coast.

More about Thea Lim