A shortlisted finalist for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize and the ALA 2019 Reading List for Science Fiction
“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.” —Esi Edugyan, Man Booker Prize Finalist and author of Washington Black
“Lim paints a strange and unfamiliar world with her novel, full of fascinating social commentary on class differences, racism, and sexism.” —The Los Angeles Times
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. Frank has caught the virus and Polly will do whatever it takes to save him, even if it means risking everything. So 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 changed and divided America, with no status and no money, Polly must navigate a new life and find a way to locate Frank, to discover if he is alive, and if their love has endured. “Lim’s enthralling novel succeeds on every level: as a love story, an imaginative thriller, and a dystopian narrative” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).
Thea Lim’s writing has been published by Granta, The Paris Review, The Guardian, Salon, The Globe and Mail, The Southampton Review and others. She holds an MFA from the University of Houston and previously served as nonfiction editor at Gulf Coast. She grew up in Singapore and lives in Toronto, where she is a professor of creative writing.