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Waiting for Columbus

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3.37  ·  Rating Details ·  1,065 Ratings  ·  209 Reviews
A man arrives at an insane asylum in contemporary Spain claiming to be the legendary navigator Christopher Columbus. Who he really is, and the events that led him to break with reality, lie at the center of this captivating, romantic, and stunningly written novel.

Found in the treacherous Strait of Gibraltar, the mysterious man who calls himself Columbus appears to be just
...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published August 25th 2009 by Doubleday (first published January 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Thomas Trofimuk
Jun 17, 2009 Thomas Trofimuk rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Well, of course, I think it's brilliant. I wrote it.
caitlin
Oct 13, 2010 caitlin rated it it was amazing
The star system is very odd. One compares apples and oranges and they both can have the same amount of stars, though they satisfy completely different needs. So to clarify my grading, I am going to employee meals - some books are snacks, others appetizers. There are amuse bouches and there are entrees and desserts. There are lunch entrees and dinner entrees. Janet Evanovich is a snack. Sue Grafton an appetizer. Thomas Trofimuk's Waiting for Columbus is an entree. An entree at a 4 star restaurant ...more
Sophie Narey (Bookreview- aholic)
Author: Thomas Trofimuk
Published: 03/09/2010
Recommended for: fans of historical fiction/romance

When I started reading this book it immediately caught hold of my attention and just wouldn't let it go at all! This book was extremely addictive I just wouldn't put the book down. This is the first book that I have read by this author and it really showed how amazingly talented the writer is.
This book is set in an insane asylum (which is what first drew me into this book), where there is a man who is
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Samra Yousuf
Jul 20, 2016 Samra Yousuf rated it really liked it
Ladies and gentlemen!
Columbus is just being watched on shores of Gibraltar......
He is back
Now in Spain
In an Asylum
No,I'm not kidding,not exactly.
He claimed to be,and a very true claim indeed.
Let we have a look what-happened in the book
A man claiming to be Christopher Columbus is fished out of the Strait of Gibraltar. He is cared for in a mental hospital in Sevilla, where nurse Consuela takes a special interest in him and listens to his stories. Columbus is eager to get back to his three ships. H
...more
Kathy
Feb 26, 2011 Kathy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
TRITE!

Can you imagine One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest meeting Mills and Boon? Well, it happened in this book. This terrible, mawkish sentimental story is set in an insane asylum where the nurse falls in love with the patient, who, if he wasn't insane, you would have to conclude is the most extravagant bullshitter on the face of the earth.

I blame the author. It is basically cheating to put a large part of the story into the mouth of a character who is insane because then you can abdicate all resp
...more
Jennifer
May 20, 2010 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Book Description from Shelfari: A man arrives at an insane asylum in contemporary Spain claiming to be the legendary navigator Christopher Columbus. Who he really is, and the events that led him to break with reality, lie at the center of this novel. Found in the treacherous Strait of Gibraltar, the mysterious man who calls himself Columbus appears to be just another delirious mental patient, until he begins to tell the “true” story of how he famously obtained three ships from Spanish royalty. I ...more
Carol
Nov 12, 2010 Carol rated it really liked it
Here's another book that defies the star system for me. It's somewhere between a 4 "I really liked this and a 5, “it was awesome”. Early on, I wasn’t quite certain how I felt about this book. I found myself confused initially, perhaps because I was reading a few pages at a time. Over the weekend I was finally able to get down dirty and read!

I had first heard about Waiting for Columbus on a Booksonthenightstand podcast. Ann Kingman raved about it not only once but at least two other times that I
...more
Zoran
Sep 01, 2010 Zoran rated it it was ok
I feel cheated by this novel. The question is—does the wonderfully touchy and tragic ending justify the long toil the story took us through, to reach the end? I was, actually, so very close never to reach it, because the first 350 pages made me so agitated, I wanted to leave the book unfinished on a few occasions. Even now, when I turned the last page, I’m still not sure if it was worth it.

At first I liked the idea of a mental patient who thinks he's Christopher Columbus, and tells the stories,
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Melanie
Mar 19, 2011 Melanie rated it it was ok
Some of the language in this book is quite poetic. The idea of a man so traumatised that he retreats into a fantasy of being Columbus is very interesting. Unfortunately I do not like the execution of the idea.

Niggles: 1) All that talk of women drove me insane. I understood it was going to lead up to some real-life girlfriend, or wife at some point, but that did not make those little stories less annoying, or more relevant. I felt I was wasting precious time reading those bits.
2) Consuela seemed
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Marti
Oct 30, 2009 Marti rated it liked it
It's not very often I dedicate time to a book when I don't know what's happening in its pages. With this story, you don't get clarity until the last chapter, so you must trust the author to take you on the journey with absolutely no map or landmarks - ironic or fitting for a tale about a navigator?

I enjoyed the journey through a man's quest for his identity - he fervently believes himself to be Christopher Columbus but the story is set in modern times. He is an incredible storyteller and I kind
...more
Mike Smith
Jul 28, 2011 Mike Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This was a very enjoyable novel. A violent, agitated man is brought to a mental institution in Seville claiming to be Christopher Columbus. Columbus begins to tell stories to one his nurses, Consuela. Stories about how he, Columbus, has been struggling to raise funds and get royal permission to set sail across the Western Sea to find a shorter route to Japan and the Indies. Yet his tales of the 15th century are rife with anachronisms such as stereos, cars, and phones. Consuela and Columbus's doc ...more
Everybookhasasoul
Sep 19, 2011 Everybookhasasoul rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
It took me a couple of chapters to get into this book but once I did I was hooked onto every word. I found myself wanting to know more about this Christopher Columbus character and who he really is.

The novel was very well written and I loved the way the novel contained elements from both modern age Spain and the 15th century. However I felt that the book was all over the place and didn’t really feel the novel fitted into real life where it be in the mental asylum or modern day Spain.

I didn’t l
...more
Jo Barton
To set a novel about Christopher Columbus in a modern day mental institution is ambitious, as not only does it heighten awareness of the reality of mental confusion, it also gives an insight into the life of one of the most enigmatic of adventurers. When a man is found, alleging to be Christopher Columbus, we are led by the author into a world of delusion and mystery, which is bravely narrated in three separate story strands.
Whilst acknowledging that the book is intricately written, I didn’t fee
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Tracy
Jan 04, 2010 Tracy rated it it was amazing
An absolutely marvelous story. A man washes up on the shore in Spain and is ultimately taken to an asylum as he believes he is Christopher Columbus. He is a great story teller and his assigned nurse, needy in her own way, finds his stories mesmerizing, though clearly they are confused as to time since he is telling them as being Columbus, but there are such things as ringing telephones in the stories. Meanwhile, an Interpol Agent is looking for a missing person, but we (the readers) don't really ...more
AM
Oct 12, 2009 AM rated it it was amazing
I don't think I'd have ever picked this book up except for the intriguing review that Books on the Nightstand gave it. They made it sound a bit like that movie Don Juan Demarco with Johnny Depp and Charlton Heston. I decided I'd give it a try. I am very glad that I did. This is a wonderful story, part adventure, part romance, part tragedy. I didn't quite know what was going on, but I didn't mind being lead down the path the author had sketched out. This was a good story and beautifully written. ...more
Leslie
Aug 26, 2009 Leslie rated it liked it
I found this book interesting, but difficult to get through. Everytime I sat down with the book, I found myself falling asleep. Even in the middle of the afternoon.

The premise: A man is brought to a Seville institute for the mentally ill. he is convinced that he is Christopher Columbus. As we uncover the terrible tragedy that pushed him to escape his modern-day life into the life of Christopher Columbus.

Consuela was an intriguing character, but she left me a bit empty. I didn't feel that I coul
...more
Alexis
Mar 21, 2010 Alexis rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010
I had some mixed feelings about this book at first. It starts out with a lot of shifts and multiple viewpoints, and I found that a bit confusing. However, there's a lot of gorgeous, sensual writing and a lot of interesting historical detail in this book.

By the end of the book, I was captivated by the story, even though it took me a long time to get into it. I'm glad I stuck with it.

This just won the City of Edmonton book prize!
James Marinero
Feb 14, 2014 James Marinero rated it really liked it
This was somewhat reminscent of Cloud Atlas (David Mitchell), but with the rational explanation becoming clear towards the end. Definitely not science fiction.

A fascinating construction, with some historical context. There were plenty of LOL moments for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed it - especially as I am acquainted with some of the areas of Spain in the story. Not a page-turning story - this type of book never is, but plenty to keep me interested. Just a shade below 4*.
Karen Stock
Sep 22, 2010 Karen Stock rated it it was ok
i am 1/2 way throguh the book and find it difficult to read. it appears to be lots of eloquence and no story, thus far. It started off really good, but now......YAWN! the reveiws i have read make it appear like ti is a great book. I may try it again. I am going to a book club on the book as well so will see what others say
Stephen
this book was slow to start off with but got better as the storyline continued, felt however the emile character could be explored more, but on the whole enjoyed the read and the surreal storylines and felt the ending was very good
Lynda
Sep 14, 2012 Lynda rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Enjoyed reading it but the middke zone was the best space in it fir me. A meditation more than a narrative. Beautiful language and rich personality profiles with clever magic realism portrayed as madness.
Laura Frey (Reading in Bed)
Close to four stars, but didn't quite come together for me. Read this book? Chat about it may 26 @8pm, #yegbookclub!
Maija
Oct 07, 2011 Maija rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
huge disappointment. i should start to pick up books not only by their beautiful covers.
Ben Babcock
Last month I reviewed Galileo's Dream, in which I waxed philosophical about the attraction of certain historical individuals. Like Galileo, Christopher Columbus is another giant who captures our imaginations. Although he did not "discover" North America, Columbus did spearhead expeditions that brought the utility of North America to the attention of European powers. And the rest is, as they say, history. Columbus helped to change the world, but what we know about Columbus the person is not alway ...more
Jennifer Papastergiou
Feb 18, 2017 Jennifer Papastergiou rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bookclub
I really enjoyed this book. It has so many things going for it--it's sensual, romantic, funny, sad, and has a slow-burning mystery at its centre, leading to a devastating ending. Great read!
Steven Brandt (Audiobook-Heaven)
Waiting for Columbus is a well thought out and beautifully written novel. It is almost as if there are three separate stories at work here. Thomas Trofimuk weaves the three threads together like a fine silk scarf as the novel progresses toward what proves to be a shattering conclusion.

A man is pulled from the water and taken to a mental hospital in Seville, Spain. He believes he is Christopher Columbus. Over a period of several weeks, Christopher entrances his nurse, Consuela, with stories of
...more
Diane
Feb 20, 2010 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books-read
The audio version of this book is read by Grover Gardner who did a wonderful job with this novel.
At first I was not sure what to make of this unusual novel.

An unknown man is pulled from the Strait of Gibraltar, and when he wakes up, he finds himself in the Sevilla Institute for the Mentally Ill. The year is 2005, and the man claims to be Christopher Columbus. To his lonely nurse, Consuela Lopez, and the psychiatric staff, the man who claims to be Christopher Columbus, details stories of his conq
...more
Jen (Books that Spark)
Jan 24, 2012 Jen (Books that Spark) rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
Waiting for Columbus was the first book selected for a book club some friends and I have set up. It wasn’t my selection and not something I would usually choose to read but nonetheless, the synopsis sounded good and I was intrigued to start reading.
This is the story of a man who is found washed up off the Strait of Gibraltar. Claiming that he is Christopher Columbus, he is taken to a mental asylum in Spain. This man is well and truly convinced that he is the real Christopher Columbus and tells
...more
Melissa Railey
Dec 05, 2009 Melissa Railey rated it it was amazing
I had been hearing people talk about Thomas Trofimuk's book Waiting for Columbus every time I turned around so, I finally broke down and bought the audiobook from Audible. The book is narrated by Grover Gardner and he does an excellent job. (I think I might end up doing a search for him on Audbile to see what else he has narrated). So what's the story about? This mysterious man is found in the Straits of Gibraltar and is taken to a mental hospital in Spain. He insists he is Christopher Columbus. ...more
Kristin
Sep 20, 2011 Kristin rated it really liked it
I found reading this book a rather odd experience. Twice I picked it up and began it, and just did not find it interested enough to continue. I didn't want to read it, but the reviews were SO good I didn't want to give up on the book. So I'd take a break and come back to the book. I finally finished all of the other book options I read and decided to just stick with this book.... and, to be honest, did not really enjoy it for at east the first half, maybe even more. But, and I hate to admit it, ...more
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