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Waiting For Columbus

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3.35 of 5 stars 3.35  ·  rating details  ·  919 ratings  ·  195 reviews
On a beautiful April morning, a man is brought to an insane asylum in contemporary Spain, claiming to be the legendary navigator Christopher Columbus. Found in the treacherous Straight of Gibraltar, he is clearly delusional and has suffered a trauma so severe that he has turned away from reality. As he spins the tall tales of adventure and romance of someone who existed in ...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published August 25th 2009 by Anchor (first published January 1st 2009)
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The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz ZafónDon Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes SaavedraThe Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz ZafónFor Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest HemingwayWinter in Madrid by C.J. Sansom
Spain
55th out of 186 books — 153 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,096)
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caitlin
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
Thomas Trofimuk
Jul 29, 2009 Thomas Trofimuk rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Well, of course, I think it's brilliant. I wrote it.
Kathy
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
Melanie
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
...more
Jennifer
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
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
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,
...more
Marti
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
Everybookhasasoul
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
...more
Tracy
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
Leslie
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
AM
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
Alexis
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!
мєℓ
Slow story, 2 main characters... I learnt more about Columbus though. The woman had bother me a lot and I could make myself forget how stupid she is sometimes. Hard time to put me into her mind.

A modern Don Quixote.

However the ending is quite well!

Not enough to give another star, so I'm stuck with 3 stars.
Karen Stock
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
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!
Lynda
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.
Jill
A man is brought into a Spanish psychiatric hospital believing himself to be Columbus. His stories are steeped in history and twisted in time, technology and people thrown back hundreds of years. Waiting for Columbus is about pulling apart these tales to discover what triggered his current dissociative break.

There is no suspense. There is no cheering for one person over another. This is told by peeling back layers until subtly the result is there, to be read. I can understand why this book recei
...more
Maija
huge disappointment. i should start to pick up books not only by their beautiful covers.
Elysa
I like books with good bones, and this story has structure and tissue and whole hidden threads that course through. If you're someone who likes to puzzle through, to consider what's happening underneath, you'll enjoy this novel too. This is a story that sifts through the issue of human suffering, how we navigate our deep grief, how we summon a sense of purpose and the will to pursue adventure in the wake of deep pain. The writing has texture and color and smell---this author knows well the memor ...more
Toni Osborne
This novel sends its readers on a mesmerizing journey, a tale that hovers between the 1400s and the present.

This captivating story chronicles the life of a man in residence at the Seville Institute for the Mentally Ill. He insists he is the famous explorer Christopher Columbus and it is imperative that he reach by phone the King and Queen to obtain funding for ships and supplies needed for his upcoming adventure across the Atlantic. .

Rich in details of the 15th century Columbus tells his careg
...more
DebbieLisa
I wanted to like this book so much more than I did. I'd been hearing a lot of buzz about it, it was recommended to me by several friends who raved about it and whose opinions I respect so I picked up a copy and started reading. Early on in the story I thought here we go, this is gonna be good and then everything just kind of fizzled out for me. The pace was too slow, I grew bored and had a very hard time not giving in to the urge to skip ahead or even worse, not finish the book at all. I didn't ...more
Denise
Waiting for Columbus is the story of a man in a mental institute in Spain who believes he is Christopher Columbus. Since he was pulled out of the Strait of Gibraltar, who he really is and how he came to be there is unknown. As the staff at the institute try to unravel his story he slowly begins to charm them, reveling a compelling intelligence. He tells tales of Columbus' life to his lovely and devoted nurse Consuela until the tales start to lead gradually into his own. Also in Spain is Inspecto ...more
Melissa Railey
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
Mike Smith
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
Kristin
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
Diane
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
Barb
I couldn't get past the illogical and unrealistic portions of this novel and there were other things that just didn't sit well with me. Some of it is style, I'm not a fan of poetry, I like my fiction to be believable so I didn't care for the strange lines that made no sense to me. Like Consuela using a using a whole roll of duct tape on the light switches so she could keep her vow of living in darkness until she felt better after the breakup of her marriage.

There were other exchanges between Co
...more
Steven Buechler
It has been often said that there is a fine line between genius and madness. But there is a thin line of text between our reality of today and history. That is the main theme that Thomas Trofimuk explores in his brilliant book Waiting for Columbus.

Page 14-15
Up until a few weeks ago, Consuela did not go into his room unless she was with an orderly. Those first few days, when he was restrained, she was fine being alone in the room. But after the restraints came off, he was unpredictably violent,
...more
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