Title: Waiting for Columbus
Author: Thomas Trofimuk
Release Date: August 25, 2009
Genre: Literary Fiction
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4 out of 5
Consuela is a nurse working at a mental institution in modern day Seville, located in southern Spain. One day, a patient arrives, claiming to be Christopher Columbus. He begins to tell his story to Consuela, weaving an unbelievable, yet fascinating tale about how he managed to get his three infamous shops from King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. Though Consuela knows he is mentally ill and is hiding from his true persona within this fictional Christopher Columbus, she is entranced by his story and by Columbus himself.
I’ve heard great things about Waiting for Columbus, so it was with excitement that I picked it up on a quiet Sunday afternoon. I read the entire book in one sitting, eager to discover who “Columbus” really was and what happened to him that made him hide within this historical figure. Trofimuk makes the persona seem so real, sometimes it’s incredibly easy to forget that he’s a patient in a mental institution, that these aren’t necessarily things that actually happened.
I also really enjoyed the way the author chose to tell the Columbus stories. Though there is general historical accuracy with the events in Columbus’ life, Tromfiuk incorporates such modern incongruities as televisions, phones, and Starbucks into his tales. Every time you are about to get lost in another story, the mention of one of these modern conveniences jars the reader out of their sense of reverie, reminding them what is really going on here. It’s very well done, and makes for an amusing read.
Tromfiuk’s writing really is wonderful in Waiting for Columbus. His prose is clear and precise; it makes the book very easy to read and enjoy. His descriptions are vivid and bright. It’s easy to picture this book in your mind, to get lost in the story through his wonderful prose.
I also loved the relationship between Consuela and Columbus. It starts out as nurse/patient, but evolves into something so much more by the end of the novel. They are both damaged at the beginning of the book, but through their connection, they heal one another. It’s a beautiful testament to love and the wonderful effects it can have.
Waiting for Columbus was a unique book that was enjoyable to read. Though I predicted the ending pretty early in the book, it was magical to watch it unfold and to immerse myself in the story. I definitely recommend this one for literary fiction fans who are looking for a lighter read.