Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Review: Waiting For Columbus by Thomas Trofimuk

Book: Waiting for Columbus by Thomas Trofimuk
Genre: Historical Fiction- ish
Rating: B+
For: Fun
From: The library

I'm afraid this is going to be one of those books where I expected to love it more than I did, because everyone else loved it so much, I thought I'd be right on board with the crowd. Because I usually am.

But this time I must say, though it was a fascinating book, I didn't exactly love it.

The story is really quite simple. It's about a guy who's is found washed up on the shore of Spain, mumbling and incoherent. He's taken to a facility where it's then realized that he believes himself to be Christopher Columbus. One particular nurse takes special interest in him, and he begins to tell her his stories. Eventually, they get to the bottom of his mystery.

The best thing about this book is the WAY this simple story is told. We bounce all over the place, from Columbus' day, to present day, to the nurse's life, to the guy trying to figure out who Columbus really is, to memories floating around in Columbus' head that at first seem unconnected to the story at all.

It's all very lyrical and emotional. You really get a sense of Columbus' urgency, his passion, his drive. You get a sense of the nurse's (Consuela is her name) conflicts and stress and emotional battle.

What I didn't like about this book was that it had an overabundance of language and sex... enough so that I was distracted by it. Now, quite often, I can handle it, but this time, it got in the way for me. I wanted to like Columbus, I wanted to understand what Consuela was seeing in him, but as it was, he mostly just creeped me out. And I really hated how Isabella, Queen of Spain, was portrayed. (Ducking for cover now!)

Bottom line: After reading so many things about this book and how everyone was "blown away" by it, I must say, though I enjoyed it, and it was engaging and page turning and interesting and unique, I wasn't blown away.


  1. It sounds like a fascinating story and I am sorry to read that it didn't set you on fire - sometimes books can be less than the sum of their parts if you know what I mean. Although I am intreigued - how is Queen Isabella portrayed? (I have always been interested in her!) Interesting review - thanks.

  2. Even though I loved this book, I have to agree with you on the sex issue -- there was a lot of it, and it sometimes seemed unnecessary.

    One of the reasons I'm always hesitant to give a "this is the greatest book ever" review is what you mentioned -- hearing how much a book will blow you away has an awful tendency to ruin it with unrealistic expectations.

    Still, a B+ isn't bad :)

  3. Hi Suey

    Thanks for the link. And isn't this the beauty of book reviews and book clubs? Not everyone will love a book. Differing opinions make for wonderful discussion!

  4. Is there a reliable place you snag your cover photos?

  5. I'm sorry you didn't love this, but I am glad I read this review, because it is tempering my expectations a little, which is probably good!

  6. I'm so glad to hear you say that about the language and sex. I'm by no means a prude, but there are just times when I think these things are just added for shock value and totally unnecessary to the story.



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