Saturday, August 21, 2010

Waiting for Columbus by Thomas Trofimuk

A man wakes up in a Spanish insane asylum claiming he is Christopher Columbus. He has no ID, nothing to tell the staff who he really is. Consuela, the nurse assigned to him listens to his tales and writes reports all the time trying to see the truth woven into his stories. She senses that when he finishes his story that the real man hidden within will reemerge.

I really liked the premise. Columbus is obviously not Christopher Columbus. This isn't some time travel story. There are anachronistic things embedded into his tales that make it clear that Columbus is a modern man who has had something devastating happen and has had a complete dissociative break from reality. Things like cell phones or cameras or cars pop into his stories with regularity.

The author also weaves a few other narratives into this novel. We follow Consuela the nurse around as well as an Interpol agent who is trying to track Columbus down. As the novel goes on the reader begins to understand how the different narratives interact and finally the truth about Columbus is revealed. It is every bit as devastating as you might think.

My one complaint is that I think Columbus' self told story was a bit long. And there might of been a little too much about odors in it for me. I know it was supposed to be earthy and romantic, but I dunno... Also I was looking for more direct correlations between his Columbus stories and his real life and there weren't as many as I had hoped for. I guess I was expecting more of an "aha" moment where the puzzle pieces fell into place.

Book Source = ARC from staff area (book is already published)

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