An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim [in Booklist]
In 1981, Frank is about to fall victim to a deadly worldwide flu pandemic. In exchange for Frank’s recovery, girlfriend Polly time-travels 12 years into the future and commits to 32 months of bonded servitude. Their 1993 reunion plan goes awry when Polly lands in 1998, with no means of contacting Frank. The United States of America is now the United States and America; in this surreal fin de siècle, Polly is trapped in a Kafkaesque labyrinth still plagued with socioeconomic inequity, racism, violence.
Her desperate but determined odyssey finds a complementary incarnation with relative-newbie narrator Lisa Rost-Welling: she’s crisp with just enough underlying anxiety as 1998 Polly, and more hesitantly hopeful, even playful, as 1981 Polly. Rost-Welling effects that same seamless adaptation to past and present Frank while remaining equally attentive to minor characters, including trusting Aunt Donna, wheedling Norberto, and snarky Felicia. With steadfast skill, Rost-Welling assuredly manifests Thea Lim’s surprising, time-traveling-for-love dystopic fantasy – of sorts.