This is a book that I read several months ago, and as it’s just come out in paperback, I figured it was time to get around to writing a review of it, as it has stuck with me. An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim is listed as a romance, and it is, sort of. I initially picked it up because of the time travel and deadly virus, however as the author says, it is really more about migration and displacement, and she is using time travel as an analogy for immigration. I found this book to be very compelling, and I recommend it especially to those who liked The Time Traveler’s Wife. I’ve also read reviews comparing it to The Handmaid’s Tale, which wasn’t something I would have thought of, however it is a speculative/dystopian novel, and thinking back, the writing style was somewhat reminiscent of Margaret Atwood. This is Lim’s debut novel, and it was shortlisted for The Giller Prize last year.
Polly and Frank are young and in love, a lifetime together before them.
But one evening in 1980, as the Texas sun sets over their shoulders, the world is suddenly pulled apart by a deadly virus. Within months, Frank is dying. Polly can save him, but only if she agrees to a radical plan: to time travel to 1993 for a corporation who can fund his life-saving treatment.
She can only go forward, she cannot go back. And she must leave everything she loves behind, including Frank. All they have is the promise of a future together: they will find each other again in twelve years’ time, in Galveston, Texas, where the sea begins.
But when something goes wrong and Polly arrives late, Frank is nowhere to be found. Completely alone, Polly must navigate a terrifying new world to find him, and to discover if their love has endured.