Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “An Ocean of Minutes” as Want to Read:
An Ocean of Minutes
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

An Ocean of Minutes

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  2,026 ratings  ·  434 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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about An Ocean of Minutes, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about An Ocean of Minutes

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.49  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,026 ratings  ·  434 reviews

Sort order
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
Shelves: netgalley
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
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.
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
Aug 11, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I can't wait to read this.
Oct 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: giller-prize
Shortlisted for the Giller Prize 2018.

Wonderful title, terrific premise, disappointing execution. In 1981 a deadly flu pandemic sweeps through the world, causing fear and panic. When her husband Frank is infected, Polly contracts with a company that promises to cure Frank in return for sending her 12 years into the future as an indentured servant. Frank and Polly arrange to meet each other at a specific place, coming back every Saturday in September until they are reunited. But Polly winds up in
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
Nov 03, 2018 rated it liked it
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.
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!!
Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺
The protagonist was usually lost, people were mostly mean to her, and this reader was generally bored.
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
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
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 something
Janelle • She Reads with Cats
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
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
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
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
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
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.
“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-mont
Ronnie Turner
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When a terrible pandemic sweeps across America, it leaves a trail of destruction in its wake. Everywhere people are falling ill and dying. Families are broken apart and lives are split through the middle. America is swiftly changing. But a way to time travel has been discovered and for some, it will be their salvation. For Polly and Frank, it the only option. They met and fell in love and dreamed of a future with their fates firmly linked. A house, a baby, a world entwined. But then Frank gets s ...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.

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
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
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.
Laura Frey (Reading in Bed)
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wavering between 3 and 4, but Lim took some risks, and I appreciate that.
May 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, fiction
Happy Sunday, readers! Quick chat about Thea Lim's An Ocean of Minutes. The story goes something like: in order to save the man she loves from a world-wide epidemic, Polly indentures herself to a corporation who put her to work... in the future. But Polly and Frank (her beau) have a plan - they'll meet each other again on a certain day at a certain hotel in Galveston in 1993. And I'd say that was a flawed plan BEFORE Polly's company sends her instead, uncaringly, to 1998.

As I read this book, I w
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Play Book Tag: An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim -4 stars 9 19 Oct 14, 2018 08:47AM  
  • That Time I Loved You
  • Nostalgia
  • Homes: A Refugee Story
  • Moon of the Crusted Snow
  • This Accident of Being Lost: Songs and Stories
  • The Amateurs
  • Time's Children
  • Six Metres of Pavement
  • Strangers with the Same Dream
  • The Parcel
  • By Chance Alone: A Remarkable True Story of Courage and Survival at Auschwitz
  • Scarborough
  • The Woo-Woo: How I Survived Ice Hockey, Drug Raids, Demons, and My Crazy Chinese Family
  • Weighing Shadows
  • The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit
  • First Snow, Last Light
  • Time on My Hands
  • After James
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.