Book Review: Waiting for Columbus – Thomas Trofimuk

Title: Waiting for Columbus
Author: Thomas Trofimuk
ISBN: 9780385529136
Pages: 336
Release Date: August 25, 2009
Publisher: Doubleday
Genre: Literary Fiction
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

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. 

Review:

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.

Comments

  1. Oh good to know that this is worth the read. I too have been wanting to read this. I’m usually a bit slow on the uptake, so maybe I won’t cotton on to the ending as early as you did.

  2. Oh good to know that this is worth the read. I too have been wanting to read this. I’m usually a bit slow on the uptake, so maybe I won’t cotton on to the ending as early as you did.

  3. I guess I will never forget Rebecca’s review for this one, where she calls it a mindf**k. I’d never gotten to the point of buying it, but was always in the back of my mind. Nice review!

  4. I guess I will never forget Rebecca’s review for this one, where she calls it a mindf**k. I’d never gotten to the point of buying it, but was always in the back of my mind. Nice review!

  5. I’ve seen some reviews that said the twist was amazing, and others that it was quite predictable. I never seem to guess those things so I have a feeling I’d be surprised. Either way, I’m curious! And it sounds like there’s much more to the book than the ending anyway.

  6. I’ve seen some reviews that said the twist was amazing, and others that it was quite predictable. I never seem to guess those things so I have a feeling I’d be surprised. Either way, I’m curious! And it sounds like there’s much more to the book than the ending anyway.

  7. Every review I read of this one makes me want to read it even more!

  8. Every review I read of this one makes me want to read it even more!

  9. Glad you liked it! We’ll have to talk more (offline, so we don’t give spoilers) about the ending….because I think we’re supposed to know from the very beginning that SOMETHING happened to this man to make him think he’s Columbus, but the question is WHAT. And if you predicted the what, with all the details, you, my dear, are brilliant! I’m dying to know.

  10. Glad you liked it! We’ll have to talk more (offline, so we don’t give spoilers) about the ending….because I think we’re supposed to know from the very beginning that SOMETHING happened to this man to make him think he’s Columbus, but the question is WHAT. And if you predicted the what, with all the details, you, my dear, are brilliant! I’m dying to know.

  11. I absolutely adored this book and I have a major literary crush on the author! I will be honest and admit that I’m a little disappointed that it didn’t resonant more strongly for you and I will also second Rebecca’s amazement that you were able to predict the ending! That all said, I’m glad you liked it enough to rate it four stars and I’ve re-tweeted your review.

  12. I absolutely adored this book and I have a major literary crush on the author! I will be honest and admit that I’m a little disappointed that it didn’t resonant more strongly for you and I will also second Rebecca’s amazement that you were able to predict the ending! That all said, I’m glad you liked it enough to rate it four stars and I’ve re-tweeted your review.

  13. I’ve had this on my shelves forever, need to actually get to it!

  14. I’ve had this on my shelves forever, need to actually get to it!

  15. Jen – read it already 🙂

    I loved this book, so am glad to see more people reading it! I’m also very happy to see that you liked it. The first time a modern convenience was inserted it really shocked me, I didn’t know what to think. My favorite was when Consuela asked him about it and he mentioned that book – I can’t remember the name of it now. Too funny though.

  16. Jen – read it already 🙂

    I loved this book, so am glad to see more people reading it! I’m also very happy to see that you liked it. The first time a modern convenience was inserted it really shocked me, I didn’t know what to think. My favorite was when Consuela asked him about it and he mentioned that book – I can’t remember the name of it now. Too funny though.

  17. All the great reviews of this book are making me anxious to get hold of a copy of it. It’s on my wish list!

  18. All the great reviews of this book are making me anxious to get hold of a copy of it. It’s on my wish list!

  19. This sounds like a wonderful book and like one that I would really, really like. I think that the various elements of the story sound like they blend really well and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this book! Excellent review, this one goes to the top of the wish list!

  20. This sounds like a wonderful book and like one that I would really, really like. I think that the various elements of the story sound like they blend really well and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this book! Excellent review, this one goes to the top of the wish list!

  21. I just finished this one last month and I have to say, it didn’t live up to my expectations. Something about it fell flat for me–perhaps I just expected too much.

  22. I just finished this one last month and I have to say, it didn’t live up to my expectations. Something about it fell flat for me–perhaps I just expected too much.

  23. I started out saying, Wow! I have to have this book — what a great premise. I ended up saying, well, I might give it a try, but not any time soon.

  24. I started out saying, Wow! I have to have this book — what a great premise. I ended up saying, well, I might give it a try, but not any time soon.

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