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An Ocean of Minutes

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  5,363 ratings  ·  969 reviews
America is in the grip of a deadly flu pandemic. When Frank catches the virus, his girlfriend Polly will do whatever it takes to save him, even if it means risking everything. She agrees to a radical plan—time travel has been invented in the future to thwart the virus. If she signs up for a one-way-trip into the future to work as a bonded labourer, the company will pay for ...more
Hardcover, 303 pages
Published July 10th 2018 by Gallery Books (first published June 26th 2018)
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Mark Very little, and it's described in very respectful, poetic terms. Somewhere between PG and PG-13.…moreVery little, and it's described in very respectful, poetic terms. Somewhere between PG and PG-13.(less)

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Average rating 3.44  · 
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 ·  5,363 ratings  ·  969 reviews

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Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing

》5 stars《

It has been a while since I have been this devoted to a book. Dystopian novels were my favorite in my high school years. This took me back it time somehow. It is a book about time travel anyway.

See, the story is very solid, it is so beautifully written, detailed but also it left room for your own imagination to wonder and this made it even more intriguing and mysterious.

The story of Polly and Frank

Even though the story is filled with pure fantasy, it felt very real. Beautiful imaginat
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 also 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, mone
Éimhear (A Little Haze)
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
Feb 11, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺
The protagonist was usually lost, people were mostly mean to her, and this reader was generally bored.
May 06, 2018 added it
Shelves: dnfed
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
Nov 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned, arc
This book was perfectly fine but nothing really that special to me. It has a cool concept and with that it can tackle some interesting issues, but I guess I just never felt that connected to Polly enough to care about what happened. The writing was nice and there were some very beautiful sentiments, but it wasn't enough to take this book to the next level for me. ...more
Aug 11, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I can't wait to read this. ...more
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
This time travel story isn't interested in the mechanics of the technology. Rather, it's about the displacement and dislocation one feels when one lands in a world that is similar but very, very different from one that one knows.
Polly decides in 1981 to travel to the future to work for the corporation TimeRaiser, in exchange for getting her boyfriend Frank necessary medical treatment during a global flu epidemic. When she arrives in the future, it's not 1993 as she expected (TimeRaiser's time t
MissBecka Gee
I thought a dystopian sci-fi with time travel in it would have been more exciting.
Instead it was just really really depressing.
Not even an addictive heartbreaking sadness...just super depressing.
The only real redemption was the character Cookie (and maybe?) the world building.
Cookie was awesome!
Brooke — brooklynnnnereads
Whenever I use the term "existential crisis" in a review, it's guaranteed that the book is pretty darn good. Well, in my opinion anyway. That is the case for this one because if there was a time for an existential crisis, it would have been while reading this book.

Going into reading this, I didn't really know what it was about aside from time travel (which is in the summary, I'm not giving anything away). After reading, I would say it's kind of similar to "The Time Traveler's Wife" and the movi
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
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
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars ~ The story itself is okay and sorta tragic but it just did not turn out to be what I was hoping for. There was a lot of info dump that I simply didn’t care for and this resorted into me literally finishing this book in less than 2 hours because I was basically skimming through the whole thing, only stopping at the bits of dialogue I found interesting and probably the flashbacks of Polly and Frank’s relationship. I wasn’t a fan of the world building but then again I am more of a sci-fi ...more
Dec 6, 2017

Can’t wait to read this! So proud of you, Auntie Thea!!
RoseMary Achey
Oct 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
A terrific premise however the author's characters lack the appropriate emotional response to almost all the novel's events caused this reader to become frustrated. ...more
Sep 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, bookclub
Polly finds herself pinching the pads of her fingers, one by one. This Saturdays-in-September idea is suddenly sickening. It is like a plan a mother would make to keep from losing her children on a subway. It's a plan able to withstand early-closing doors and a snarl of stairways, not the ocean of minutes that twelve years holds. But uselessly, her mind has gone blank. Strange, random thoughts wander into the empty space. Is it dinner time? She is entering a world where the notion of somethin
Janelle Janson
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
"An Ocean of Minutes offers that rare combination of a provocative speculative setting, masterfully elegant writing, and a story that moves and haunts long after the last page.
Thea Lim is an enormously talented writer."
- David Chariandy, author of BROTHER and SOUCOUYANT

"A strikingly imaginative time-travel story unlike anything I've ever read, rich with pinpoint emotional insight and fierce, vivid observations about a future that's already our past."
- Élan Mastai, author of All Our Wrong Toda
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
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book, but there were a lot of things that annoyed me. I didn't like the two main characters, Polly and Frank. Polly had made the decision to time travel, but when it happened she acted like she had no idea what happened, where she was, and what was expected of her. Did she really as zero questions before signing up to jump 12 years in the future? I found Frank obnoxious from the moment he was introduced, and thought there was no way he was going to hold up his end of ...more
Well I am not entirely sure how to rate this. I was expecting big things from this book after beign nominated for the Giller, and perhaps i had set my expectations too high. It was a very readable story, but the characters just seemed to come and go, and the descriptions of how/why the world declined after a flu epidemic were really glossed over. At the heart of the story is the question of whether or not love can survive a 17 year gap, which is caused by one character travelling form 1981 to 19 ...more
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
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. Its originality is astounding. The writing is spellbi
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
“TimeRaiser is a good company. We’ll protect you. Today, or rather tomorrow, is the first day of the rest of your life. It’s a gift.”

In the year 1981, the flu has devastated the world. When the ability to time travel becomes a reality, doctors attempt to go back to the beginning to prevent the flu from ever becoming an issue but limitations on travel prevent them from going back that far. Being infected is certain death and when Polly’s boyfriend Frank becomes infected, she agrees to a 32-mo
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 rounded up

An Ocean of Minutes, a book rooted in dystopic genre fiction tropes and at times feeling derivative, a less profound Station Eleven, is a surprise finalist for this year's Giller Prize. Seeing the mixed reviews on Goodreads and the somewhat lukewarm embrace of its inclusion as a contender for a literary fiction prize, I did not go in with too high expectations. However, the intense and very subtle story about dealing with loss and disappointment exceeded expectations.

Following the
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
This was VERY good, so of course it's hard for me to know what to say about it. Lim takes time travel in a wonderfully unexpected direction, using it to explore ideas of distance - physical, emotional, temporal - loss, love, and sacrifice. The setting is richly realized and like most good sci-fi, it asks the reader to confront contemporary issues (immigrant, the power of corporations, the way wealthy societies turn a blind eye to the labor that creates our comfortable lives) by altering them jus ...more
Apr 16, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Technically this is slight dystopian/time travelling novel but suggest not having to high expectations for those themes. In 1981 Polly agrees to travel 12 years into the future and work there so that her boyfriend Frank gets the medical care he needs for the flu during a pandemic. But her arrival is delayed with 5 more years and Frank is nowhere to be found and its not easy for Polly to navigate through the new time zone as everything seem to be working against her and she struggled a lot. This ...more
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Play Book Tag: An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim -4 stars 9 27 Oct 14, 2018 08:47AM  

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Thea Lim is the author of An Ocean of Minutes, which was shortlisted for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize. Thea Lim's writing has been published by Granta, The Paris Review, The Guardian, The Globe and Mail, Salon, The Southampton Review and others. She holds an MFA from the University of Houston and she previously served as nonfiction editor at Gulf Coast. She grew up in Singapore and lives in To ...more

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“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.” 2 likes
“Somewhere a great epiphany broke forth: there’s only ever going to be one of every day; there will be other days, but they won’t be this day.” 0 likes
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