In September 1981, Polly and Frank arrive at the time travel terminal at Houston Intercontinental Airport. One will travel, and one will stay.
America is in the grip of a deadly flu pandemic. When Frank catches the virus, Polly will do whatever it takes to save her lover, 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 laborer, the company will pay for the life-saving treatment Frank needs. Polly promises to meet Frank again in Galveston, Texas, where she will arrive in twelve years.
But when Polly is re-routed an extra five years into the future, Frank is nowhere to be found. Alone in a divided America, with no status and no money, Polly is desperate to find Frank. But as danger mounts and her search demands unthinkable sacrifice, she must ask herself: what does it cost to hold on to the past, and what does it cost to let it go?
An Ocean of Minutes is a timely exploration of migration and the wrenching love story of two people who are at once mere weeks and many years apart.
“Lim’s enthralling novel succeeds on every level: as a love story, an imaginative thriller, and a dystopian narrative.”
“[Lim] comes into her own here, with prose that’s elegant and haunting, somehow managing to be both unsentimental and deeply moving at the same time. A devastating debut. ”
“...a timely novel that brings a fresh perspective on the complex subjects of migration and displacement that plague our world today. ”
“A beautiful debut exploring how time, love, and sacrifice are never what they seem to be.”
“I was hooked on Polly’s story from beginning to end...full of fascinating social commentary on class differences, racism and sexism. ”
“Thea Lim’s An Ocean of Minutes is that rare thing - a speculative novel that is as heartfelt as it is philosophical. In lucid prose, Lim lays bare the complexities of migration and displacement, while offering a clear-eyed meditation on the elusive nature of human devotion. An original and compelling novel unlike anything you'll read this year”
“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.”
“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.”
“Lim takes the lovers-separated-by-time narrative further than any other writer I’ve read, exploring class divisions, migrant workers, racism, climate change, and corporate psychopathy. A searing indictment of so much of what presently ails us, Lim’s is a story for our time.”
“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.”