A very unusual book, with an unexpected, sad ending. Made me stop and think and consider how I'd approach what happened and if I'd behave the same. Worth a read especially since the pandemic.
An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim. It's 1981 and a lab accident releases a flu virus that starts to decimate the population. When her boyfriend falls ill Polly will do anything to save him. Even if it means sacrificing years of their future and traveling 12 years into the future. They make a plan to find each other but when Polly arrives she is five years later than planned and the world's had changed more than she could ever imagine.
It's a fascinating concept. An alternative past that leads to a dystopian future with a fractured United States based on indentured labour and time travel. But the story is a lot more meditative and subtle than that. Lim uses Polly's displacement in time to explore the grim reality of the immigrant experience which so often devalues and dehumanises people. Polly, half Lebanese, was perceived as white in her relatively affluent past but as a Journeyman and not-citizen in future America finds herself cast as Latina, showing the interplay of status and racism. She struggles to find Frank in a world she no longer understands, isolated, exploited and at the mercy of her employers who can add months or years to her sentence at a whim. It's an intelligent, heartbreaking story that uses familiar tropes to explore new territory to create a really powerful story of love and loss. Lim's writing is fresh and evocative, approaching her characters and themes with great subtlty and originality
A truly heartbreaking take on a time travel premise, this book was a fantastic read. I would highly recommend this.
Four marks for the idea, which was great. But I felt like really only three marks for the outcome, which was rather sad and depressing. But I shouldn't mark down a book that is sad, although I would have preferred to read something a bit more uplifting at the moment! It was, however, very interesting to read a time-travel outcome that was so frustrating and difficult, not the everything-will-be-better that one often reads.
Unfortunately, I have not been able to read and review this book.
After losing and replacing my broken Kindle and getting a new phone I was unable to download the title again for review as it was no longer available on Netgalley.
I’m really sorry about this and hope that it won’t affect you allowing me to read and review your titles in the future.
Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity.
A beautifully written book with lots of brilliant scenes and imaginings but plenty of room for your imagination to grow and run free with the prospects that it explores.
Thank you - we featured An Ocean of Minutes on Caboodle (website and newsletter) in 2019! We look forward to working with you in 2020.
A heartbreaking and mesmerising story that I could not put down. So very original premise which at times was confusing but was worth persevering with. Like nothing else I have ever read.
A fantiastic story! I really enjoyed this book. I recommended this to all my friends and work colleugues and i can't wait to read more from this author
This was an interesting concept, but it felt more suited to a short story than a whole book. However, if you are a fan of dystopian settings, then this will be for you.
An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim - what an emotional, dystopian, time-travelling journey this took me on.
It's 1981 and Polly and Frank are in love. They'd do anything for each other. So when Frank becomes victim of a flu pandemic that has already wiped out most of the population, Polly doesn't hesitate to give up the life she knows to help him access the cure. Yes, there is one, but it's costly and she has to bond herself to the company that owns it, for twelve years. To do this she must time-travel to pay her debt off to the company that will save Frank's life whilst she's gone. In an effort to get back together they set up a plan to meet each other at a specific time and place on the first Saturday in September, and every Saturday until they've found each other again. But sadly, Polly is sent to 1998 and not their planned 1993, so she is already five years too late. But she never falters on her promise to keep searching for him, and knows he will be doing exactly the same. It's this pure determination to reunite with Frank that becomes the driving force to keep her going through some really hard and lonely times. As long as he survived it makes everything worth it, right?
Will they ever meet again? Will true love overcome all?
It seems to me that a lot of this fictional story is based on what I could believe to be how an immigrant would feel when thrust into a world they don't fully understand, or have any control over. Not knowing much about this author I wonder if some of these ideas where based on her own experiences. To fully understand this you really need to read this novel, but when Polly suddenly finds herself in a future alone and scared she's often treated like a second-rate citizen through no fault of her own. There are even other characters in this book that are clearly racist. It's a damn fine read!
I rooted for the lead protagonist to get back with her beloved Frank every heartbreaking step of the way. This story had me thinking about the ending a lot longer than expected. In this bittersweet story of courage, determination and hope it's love that finally sees us through. When I reached the end I honestly didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Who'd have thought a time-travelling romance, could be so realistic. Just like real life, the hearts of the romantics can easily be broken and life, well, it just goes on...
Thanks to NetGalley for my copy of this book.
This was a story full of imagination and well written. It is a dystopian novel about a world gripped by a flu pandemic and where the possibility of travelling into the future brings hope of survival for the two protagonists – Polly and Frank. I enjoyed the alternative universe that the author has created – it was well described and it felt real. You could sense Polly’s emotional strain in this new world she is getting to know as a result of her time travel and you hope for her sake that her sacrifice of leaving everything behind in order to travel to the future will be worth it – i.e. she and Frank will meet up like they had planned and build a life together.
Thank you to the publisher and to Netgalley for an ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest and impartial review.
DNF'ing at p92. It was just so slow and I don't particularly care about her getting lost or Frank fighting with a drunk dude. I don't have the energy to keep reading this.
A wonderfully concise dystopian tale! Lim takes the classical dystopian set up and gives it a spin to reinvent the genre anew. I particularly love that she snatched away the perfect ending - how cruel, how perfect, how right.
This novel didn't work for me, as a romance or as a time travel story, though ostensibly it's neither. Polly's experiences are a metaphor for the immigrant experience. This was probably the strongest aspect of the novel but it had lost me by then. The writing, as beautifully formed as it was, was just a little too melancholia inducing and I found the story gloomy. I disliked the relationship between Polly and Frank and wished the last two chapters had been chronological so at least the last feelings of the book would've been hopeful. Not for me or anyone expecting a typically romantic romance with a cliche happy ending or a sci-fi time travel adventure.
I’m not normally one for scientific reads- this was a love story interwoven with time travel, yet it pulled me in and kept me hostage until the end.
Loved the sound of this book and I wasn't disappointed. It's set in the 1980's - Polly and Frank are in love but Frank becomes Ill with a deadly virus and the only way to pay for his treatment is if Polly travels to 1993 - sounds odd and it is! But in a good way! They arrange to meet in 13 years time in a certain location but something goes wrong and Polly arrives a few years later. It's an unusual and original love story.
Polly and Frank are in love, they have their whole lives ahead of them and plan on spending it together. But In 1981 America is hit by a flu pandemic, people are dying in droves and Frank gets sick. Although there is a cure it is extremely costly and the only way to get access to it is for a loved one to bond themselves to the company who owns it. Polly, unable to believe in a future without Frank agrees to work for this company and time travel 12 years to help rebuild the future. Polly and Frank devise a plan to meet in 12 years time, however things don’t go to plan and Polly ends up in 1998 instead of 1993, alone, with no idea where Frank is or how to find him.
An Ocean of Minutes has a fantastic premise, a fantastic title but something missing in the execution. I’ve been wracking my brain to think what that something was and I think (well, at least for me) it was the lack of character development. The dystopian future was painstakingly created and as such, felt real, almost tangible but not so for the characters which meant that when counter intuitive decisions were made it was just frustrating and once it happened a couple more times I was no longer invested. This was, for me, a bit of a disappointment.
Thanks to Netgalley for providing an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
As long as you don't question the mechanics of time travel (just as for any book in this genre), you'll find this thought provoking and compelling.
Having been a migrant myself, I particularly empathised with Polly's struggle to adapt when she s sent 12 years into the future to earn medical care for her beloved. After so many years have passed, neither he nor the world is the same yet Polly is still in her early twernties, an almost insurmountable problem.
Heart breaking and moving, this is a nice twist on the time travel theme.
Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC without obligation.
Before I even opened An Ocean of Minutes my eyes were instantly drawn to the cover. It was a cover that stood out due to its simplicity, yet I knew it contained a myriad of hidden meanings that I hoped the story would uncover.
And, yes this is a story that has many levels, the primary being that of love, and its true meaning not just in general but what it means to us on an individual basis. For Polly it is her love for her boyfriend Frank and the need to save him from certain death from a flu pandemic sweeping America. Unwilling to leave him to the vagaries of the public health care system, but give him the best care possible Polly signed up to and was transported to the future and 1993, agreeing where and when they will meet when Frank finally catches up with her. But as we know the course of true love is never smooth and Polly finds herself in 1998, 5 years later, and a world so different from the one she left.
It is a world that I was instantly transported to, such were the vivid descriptions and imagery used by Lim. Polly’s frustration at not being able to make a simple phone call, send a letter, emanates from the pages and you have to read through gritted teeth as she meets brick wall after brick wall in her search for Frank.
The relationships she formed with her fellow time travellers are somehow more meaningful as they fight for food, sanity and survival, but it is her relationship with Norberto that is the most engaging and interesting. He is a man who she perhaps would not have been friends with in normal circumstances, but a mutual understanding led them to help one another. The consequences of their actions created some of the most dramatic moments in the novel and they had me literally turning the pages as quickly as possible to find out what happened next.
The latter parts of the novel are mesmerising, and emotive but I shall say no more for fear of revealing any spoilers!
This is a novel that had so much depth to it. It was thought provoking and hugely emotive, and certainly made me think about what love means to me and what I would do or feel if I was in the same situation.
The dystopian aspect is brilliantly done and I particularly liked that we weren’t sent somewhere into the future but back to a time that was so different from what I myself remembered. It was almost like having all the nice things and even some of the basics in your life stripped away, laying you bare to yourself and your emotions. I think that is why the novel was so emotive as Polly’s entire being centered around her search for her one true love, Frank.
As you can probably tell I loved this novel and I can honestly say it as good and if not better than its cover. I shall be donating my copy to the library in which I work, so that I can recommend to my customers and they enjoy An Ocean of Minutes as much as I did