An Ocean of Minutes

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 06 Jul 2018

Member Reviews

An Ocean of Minutes is a story of time travel, love and surviving no matter what. The only other book I have read which involves time travel just so happens to be one of my all-time favourites; The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (don’t talk about the film – biggest let down ever). This too was a love story and touched by sadness. The similarities end there but I was nonetheless very taken with this novel. This book was wonderfully different to the genre of thrillers I usually stick to. One of the great joys I am finding from reviewing books is that I am stepping more outside of my comfort zone and really enjoying it.

We start in 1981 where there is a flu pandemic sweeping across The States. With the cost of treatment out of reach for most people they can pay for a loved one’s health care by time travelling with a firm called Time Raiser, to a period in the not too distant future where they will be needed to work. 

Polly, aged just 23 is desperately in love with Frank and when they get stranded in Texas and he contracts the virus, she doesn’t hesitate to sign up with Time Raiser in order to save his life. What follows is a tale of hardship, isolation and the power of the human spirit and a person’s ability to believe in love, no matter what.

Written in a simple style that somehow evokes the desolation of a world fighting to survive, this book is utterly heart wrenching and at times, I feel, gives us an insight in to how refugees must often feel when arriving in a foreign land with no status and no funds. Polly has to work her way through a world totally unknown to her but never at any point loses her focus; her true love. At times I loved her and at others I felt frustrated with her, but never once did I stop rooting for her!

I don’t want to elaborate on the plot any further (as always) but I must say that if you fancy a read that is a little different and utterly involving, then try this. Give it a go. I am so glad that I did and I hope you enjoy it too!

My thanks to #NetGalley and #QuercusBooks for a copy of #AnOceanOfMinutes in return for an honest review.
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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. 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 either but then again I am more of a sci-fi person. The time travel bit intrigued me but apart from that weren’t any other sci-fi elements which I was hoping for. I just had a different version of how the story would play out and when it didn’t, i guess i was disappointed.
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With such a fabulous title and one amazing cover. I was interested in this read.

An intriguing and beautiful novel, Polly was an extraordinary character and I loved following her life through the future.

Evocative and beautiful, it is an appealing read and one that will capture a lot of readers.
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I didn't even realize I was approved for this. This was archived way way before I got the chance to download it so I won't be reviewing this, obviously.
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Plot: In 1981, in the grip of a flu that’s killing people at an alarming rate, Polly makes the biggest decision of her life. In order to save the love of her life, Frank, who has tested positive, she will take a one way trip 12 years into the future to kill two birds with one stone: avoiding the virus, but also allowing her to use her pay to save Frank. They make plans to meet once she has reached “the future” – for Polly, it seems like only a day has passed; for Frank, it’s been years. But when she’s rerouted another 5 years into the future, their plans are thrown into disarray. On top of that, the new world is totally different – America is divided, she has zero rights and is in a bonded contract to work for the company that sent her to the future for over 30 months, with that time getting longer the more simple life necessities she needs to buy. Can she find Frank and resume the life she left behind?

My thoughts: This was a super interesting concept and done very well – I really enjoyed the two landscapes the author plunged us into and the true fear you felt on Polly’s behalf being trapped in a world she doesn’t know or understand with no way back. I always love a dystopian world novel, and this one not only fit that criteria for me, but also felt vaguely realistic, like it could really happen.
The story was at a lot of times heartbreaking and harrowing. Being told in alternating sections between the past and “future”, we get to delve deeper into the story of Polly and Frank’s relationship, building up a picture of how they came together and why Polly’s so desperate to find him again. The romance and sci-fi elements sat side by side really well for me here and I thought the novel as a whole was an excellent piece of work.
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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 independence and in massive debt to her employer. The system is rigged against her and any attempt to navigate the mind-boggling bureaucracy is doomed to fail. 

Polly needs something to cling to, and that something is the hope of finding Frank, her boyfriend from the past. For Polly, their separation was only moments ago, but for Frank it's been seventeen years.  Through flashbacks, we see their relationship unfold, and gradually get a sense of whether Polly is right to believe Frank would wait for her. 

Through its time-travel conceit, An Ocean of Minutes portrays displacement and immigration without directly referencing any specific real-world situation, allowing the reader to focus on the human experience.  It's a clever trick and a gutsy one, since some readers may feel cheated that the book isn't the one they thought they were getting.  Personally I think the author could have gone even further in this direction, as it was an absorbing read with a novel approach.
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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 that has affected the population is to sign up with a time traveling company for a job with them in the future, though once there they realise this isn’t the brilliant fix they though it was.  It was quite chilling to realise how much control the company had on people and how hard they had to work to pay off their debt.

I loved Polly she seemed very clever and a hard worker, though at times was rather niave.  Her attempts to navigate the strange future world was heatbreaking at times and I really felt for her and the predicament she finds herself in.  Despite being classed as having a special skill the luxury she is promised doesn’t materislise and I could feel her upset and frustration as the bright future she hoped for fails to live up to her hopes.

The story is told in two parts.  One follows Polly and her life in the future, 5 years further in the future then she hoped for which of course adds Futher complications as it makes finding Frank more difficult than she hoped.  The other, told in a series of flash backs, focuses on Polly and Frank and the story of their life together.  It is very poignant and beautiful to learn more about this, especially when it impacts the future.  The two stories gradually come together and the ending was very uplifting and satisfying as it was great to see how far Polly had come.

Huge thanks to Ana at Quercus books for my copy of this book and for inviting me onto the blog tour.  This is definitely a book I will be thinking about for some time.
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An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim is about a young couple named Polly and Frank. It is the 1980’s and a deadly flu has struck the population. Frank has contracted it and the only way Polly can save him is to travel into the future in exchange for his life saving treatment.

Neither of them can contemplate life without the other so they make a plan to meet up in the future but when something goes wrong and she ends up alone Polly ventures out to find Frank.

The first line of the book pulls the reader straight in: people wishing to time travel go to Houston Intercontinental Airport.

Frank doesn’t want Polly to go to the future, but Polly is adamant because it is the only way to get him the treatment he needs. Both of them are secretly worried that she will be rerouted to a different time, so they make a plan in case something goes wrong and one of them can’t make it. They arrange to meet the first Saturday in September, they’d go to the Flagship hotel in Galveston, until they found one another.

Frank will be fourty when they see each other again but she hopes that they will still be able to do all the things they planned together and to have the baby she longs for.

Whilst waiting to travel Polly suddenly begins to panic about the plan they have made to meet.

“Their Saturdays in September idea is suddenly sickening. It is like a plan a mother would make to keep from losing her children in 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."

When Polly gets to the future they have sent her to the wrong year and Frank is nowhere to be seen. Polly is determined to get to him despite the obstacles this unfamiliar world sends her way.

An Ocean of Minutes had a lot of competition because science fiction is one of my favourite genres. I would say it was readable but not memorable and in the end it left me disappointed. The idea was one that warranted more investigation but there was nothing to capture my attention.
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On paper, "An Ocean of Minutes" should have been right up my street. I like a bit of time travel, love a bit of romance, and dystopian fiction is generally worth a nose. However, Thea Lim's first novel seems a bit lost and searching for an audience. The general premise (woman travels forward in time, will her man wait for her?) is a theme worthy of adult fiction, but the method of time travel and the implausible, simplistic environment is better suited to a YA audience.

The Time Travel element feels like it was shoe-horned in to attract a certain audience or to ride the wave of recent romantic time travelling films - I wouldn't be even mildly surprised if you told me the first draft had Polly frozen in stasis rather than time travelling. There were no time issue conundrums as you would expect in a society that have discovered  both forward and backward travel.

I also found the writing overblown, with too much detail given unnecessarily to irrelevant passages, and I did find myself skimming heavily in the final 40%. The style was solid YA, the dictionary remained tucked away in the drawer. The flip-flopping chapters that alternated between the historic and the current timelines were unnecessary - when this works well, as in Time Traveller's Wife, there's a relationship between the past and the present, here, the past didn't develop the present.

But that said, and this is the true worth of any book, I did want to know how it would end and I did read to the end. So, a wobbly 4, but a 4 nonetheless.

Book kindly supplied by Netgalley for an honest review.
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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 Frank is nowhere in sight. Polly struggles to navigate around a post apocalyptic world while trying to find the man she loves. 

I really thought I was going to give this book 5 stars however there were so many problems with it, first of all Polly is a very unlikable character , she is very selfish and can just be plane mean at times, she is horrible to Frank in certain sections and it was hard to in deer myself to her, a lot of the story was very far fetched and unbelievable for example (view spoiler), there were also massive plot holes through out the whole novel and threads that went no where! The ending itself was just infuriating!. The writing was very dry and maybe with a different writing style this book could have been something special. 

Overall this was quite a disappointing book, it had so much potential but just ended up being an average read! I'm still looking for that 5 star time travel romance read!
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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 to reading An Ocean of Minutes because it ticked a lot of boxes; mainly time travel and a dystopian/post-apocalyptic setting. But it was so much more than I was expecting. It is a real genre-bending book which covers a number of important and timely themes including immigration, class/status, relationships, grief and ultimately the passing of time and the pain of love.

Set in the 1980s and 1990s it has a wonderfully nostalgic feel to it; in an interview, the author Thea Lim says she purposefully set the book in a period of time before we were saturated by modern technology like mobile phones and the internet. I think this was an excellent decision as it gives the book a unique wistfulness. Lim didn’t want to write a dystopia that tries to make a prediction of what the future will look like but instead focuses on issues affecting us now. Some aspects of the story directly mirror the abuses happening today – in particular how migrant workers and refugees are treated and the disparity between classes and ethnicities.

But what really got to me in the end (had me crying my eyes out) was the relationship between Polly and Frank. There was something so believable and heartbreaking about their story and it strongly resonated with me.

Having been transported 5 years too far into the future, I really felt Polly’s distress and anguish when she first arrives in Galveston to find the world as she knows it has gone forever.

The author’s descriptions of locations are powerfully realised but still allow the reader’s imagination to go wild. Galveston is now predominantly an overgrown wasteland, dotted with storage containers, concrete ruins and border fences while the rush is on to re-build luxury hotels and facilities for the elite tourists.

“Strip malls, warehouses and offices were canopied in shrubs and grasses” and ominously now “there are no regular stores”.

She finds herself alone in this surreal hellish prison of a town. Trapped until she pays off her debt to the TimeRaiser corporation and aware she has missed the year of her and Frank’s planned meeting, her desperation to find him is gut-wrenching. It’s pretty horrifying as she realises the seriousness of her decision; irreversible and impossible to return to the previous time and her old life.

This book played on my worst fears about time (running out of it, it going too quickly, not appreciating the present) and reminded me of the Welsh word Hiraeth which is difficult to translate to English. Hiraeth [hiraɪ̯θ]) pronounced with 2 syllables – Here Ithe – means a longing for a place or time, or a yearning or wistful grief for people and things long gone.  

When a book can make you feel a myriad of emotions including the hammering heart of anxiety, the burning rage of anger and also a deep tear-jerking sadness it has to be a 5 star book. So yes, I can’t recommend this book enough.
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So sorry I really tried to read this book but it was so slow and confusing not my genre but thought I would try it obviously l not for me
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After not reading much dystopian fiction for ages I seem to have read a fair bit recently and An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim was my latest foray into the genre. Set towards the end of the last century it tells the story of Frank and Polly, two young people deeply in love in 1981 who are planning their future together. That is until Frank becomes ill with a deadly and highly contagious strain of the flu. The treatment needed to save him is expensive but can be ‘paid’ for by Polly travelling through time to 1993. Faced with the love of her life dying she chooses to go and she and Frank arrange to meet at a hotel on the beach in Texas in September 1993. Except something goes wrong and she arrives in 1998, the flu has wiped out most of the population and she is in a land which is wholly unlike anything she knows or has seen before.

1998 is a terrifying and disorientating place; sheds are filled with people on exercise bikes powering air conditioning for tourists and the noise of children laughing is fed through speakers into the desolate landscape. I was incredibly uneasy reading these passages and found some sections quite upsetting. It felt quite psychologically brutal and reminded me a little of the Handmaid’s Tale in the way it used extreme power to control and cause fear.

Interspersed with the horrors of Polly’s new life are chapters which tell us the story of Frank and Polly; how they met, their love for one another and their relationship. It is a heartbreaking read in places and one part of me was willing them to find one another whilst the other was wondering if Frank was still alive and if he was would the changes in the world make a relationship insurmountable?  She is bonded to the time travel company and is unable to leave Texas (now America, it has been quarantined from the United States to isolate the pandemic) until her debt is paid off. Thea Lim does a wonderful job of writing about a couple deeply in love and contrasting it with the predicament Polly finds herself in. The time she is bonded to the company is a frustration that comes through loud and clear and is a huge obstacle in her quest to find her soul mate.

This is a book which deals with love, loss, heartbreak, fear and terror in a beautiful and eloquent way.  It is cleverly written, expertly plotted and creates a world that is at once recognisable and also absolutely terrifying. I spent most of this book wondering how it would end and whether Polly and Frank would be reunited. I won’t spoil it but it is a perfect ending to their tale.
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I found this book a little slow to start and took me some time to get into it, but I ended up enjoying the story. I really liked the use of time travel and how it was used as an extra tool to help go as far as you can to help someone that you love.
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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 cannot occur back to a time period before that initial flu outbreak. 

BUT!!!!

People from time periods after the flu pandemic has erupted can travel into the future. 

This is how we come to meet our protagonist Polly. She is a twenty-something year old who is desperate to do anything to save her boyfriend Frank who has contracted the virus. Thusly, she makes a deal with this corporation that in exchange for her travelling on a one-way trip twelve years into the future and agreeing to work for them for a bonded period of time her boyfriend Frank will be entitled to life saving medical care. 

She and Frank agree to meet again in September 1993 in Galveston, Texas at a specific landmark... But somehow Polly ends up in a very strange 1998 and is unable to find Frank. America, as Polly knew it, has changed entirely and is now divided into the United States and America. And Polly learns that the small-print of her bonded deal with the corporation means she has next to zero rights and is indentured to work for over thirty months to earn her freedom with extra time always being added on in exchange for life's basic necessities. 

This was a great book from a sheer storytelling aspect. I was very much invested in seeing how the plot would develop and how, or even if, Polly would ever be able to find Frank 17 years in to this new future. It had a really great dystopian vibe with some really interesting plot twists story-wise. 

Where this book fell a little flat for me was primarily with the characters. I never truly felt that great love story between Polly and Frank, and as a main character Polly was somewhat bland emotionally. Sadly I never truly empathised with her as a character. And disappointingly, none of the supporting characters truly felt memorable. They were merely names rather than fully fleshed out three-dimensional characters that could make me feel anything for them whether that was sympathy or hatred. 
And also at times I felt the descriptive writing became rather confusing to read. There were paragraphs that felt disjointed from Polly's reality and really interrupted the flow of the narrative. 

But overall I still enjoyed this book because of that great storytelling aspect. It was certainly a page turner and a very quick read that I think is perfectly suited to anyone's light summer reading list for 2018. And can I just say, I utterly love that title!!! I think 'An Ocean of Minutes' perfectly encapsulates the story in this book. 

Three and a half stars



*An e-copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher, Quercus, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*
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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 future.  It's not ideal as Frank will be 12 years older, but he will be well and they will still be plenty young enough to get married and start a family.  Of course, it doesn't quite go to plan.

I guess the whole premise of this book is about whether or not love can stand the test of time.  Or whether it is best to let go of the past and move on with life.

I really enjoyed the flashbacks to when Polly and Frank first met.  For me these were the strongest parts of the book. And I liked how although some of the story is set in the 'future' it actually all takes place in an alternative version of our our past (1970s-2000), so there wasn't the distraction of tons of modern technology to interfere with the story, which I find often happens in many books set in the present day.

I was so looking forward to reading this book. However, I am a huge fan of time travel and science fiction in general, and maybe that is why I didn't actually enjoy this book as much as I hoped I would.  Perhaps I've simply read too many books on the same themes. The world building is very creative but the actual time travel is rather unexciting. I wasn't totally convinced by the romance either. And there is no suspense at all. No...oomph. 

So, although I appreciate the imagination that obviously went in to this book, unfortunately, it breaks my heart to say that I found the thing as a whole a little dull.
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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 are realised when she is rerouted an extra five years. But before they parted, they arranged a meeting place and times to check in. But what will Polly find when she lands in Frank's 17 year ahead future and will he even have waited for her?
I am a relative newbie to sci-fi and also haven't read much dystopian fiction so I wasn't really sure what to expect from this story. But the basic premise tickled my fancy; can love endure the test of time when one person has aged and has to wait, and the other not? Obviously the main crux of things lay with Polly and her bonded labour shenanigans, some of which went smoother than others. Her specialise listed profession, her "in" to the time travel being upholstery meant that she was designated at the highest class but this didn't really offer her the luxury she had been promised. Coupled with the fact that she went further into the future than promised, she had the added worry that Frank may have given up. Well, that is if he was still alive, even that wasn't a certainty. 
As she continues on her quest to find Frank in the future, we see flashbacks to their past. How they met and got together and the time leading up to the pandemic and their decision to part in order to get Frank help once he succumbed to the flu. This for me was interesting to read when alternated with what was going on in the future. The two threads complementing each other along the way. The past fitting in well with what was happening in the present. If I had one criticism it would be that I didn't quite find Polly as convincing as maybe she could have been. I can't quite put my finger on exactly why though, just she didn't quite sit right with me. 
But, the ending when it came was perfect. All the way through I was wondering how on earth the author would bring it all together and, to be honest, she did a really good job. It's probably not the ending that everyone will be happy with but, for me, it worked and left me satisfied.
My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.
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I found this book slow to start and it took me a while to get into it, but it ended up having a really interesting story and view point on what time travel and alternate futures could be like!
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A very disappointing read. I gave up on 30% after not a lot, but too much, has happened. It's a great idea but it doesn't live up to the hype (Station Eleven and Time Traveller's Wife).
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I loved the idea of this book. To love someone enough to change your life completely by time travelling takes a special kind of love and trust. Polly risks everything for Frank in this beautifully told story. This is an enjoyable read. It tells of love and loss and human nature.

Thank you to Netgalley for my copy.
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