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Waiting For Columbus

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3.36  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,037 Ratings  ·  204 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 SaavedraEl juego del ángel by Carlos Ruiz ZafónFor Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest HemingwayCathedral of the sea by Ildefonso Falcones
Spain
60th out of 222 books — 186 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,381)
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Thomas Trofimuk
Jul 29, 2009 Thomas Trofimuk rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Well, of course, I think it's brilliant. I wrote it.
caitlin
Oct 14, 2010 caitlin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Kathy
Mar 06, 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  ·  review of another edition
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
Melanie
Mar 19, 2011 Melanie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Carol
Nov 26, 2010 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 13, 2010 Zoran rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 30, 2009 Marti rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jan 04, 2010 Tracy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 07, 2009 Leslie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 13, 2009 AM rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
James Marinero
Feb 14, 2014 James Marinero rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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*.
Alexis
Mar 25, 2010 Alexis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
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
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
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
Sep 14, 2012 Lynda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jill
Mar 27, 2015 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 18, 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.
Lindy
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. He tells Consuela about his long quest to fund the risky venture westward and also about the many women he loves in fifteenth century Spain. The anachronisms in his stories -- like telephones, tonic water and billiards -- become expecte ...more
Amber
Jan 11, 2016 Amber rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
This book just didn't agree with me for some reason. On the surface, it's seems great: fascinating premise, interesting characters, a good mystery. It's got so many of the things that I love in books, but I just had a hard time getting into it.

The story follows a man who turns up at a mental institution in modern-day Spain claiming to be Christopher Columbus. While there, he captivates Nurse Consuela with epic stories of his adventures and romances in the times during and leading up to his groun
...more
Rachel
Nov 25, 2015 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: w, 2014, male-author
I enjoyed some aspects of this book more than others (such as the Interpol investigation - it either needs more made from it or it needs to be removed completely), and could easily overlook the implausibility of other scenarios such as the main characters identity and his relationship with the hospital staff. However, some aspects of Columbus's flashbacks were quite tedious and boring and added little overall to the plot.

I liked the fact that you never really know what is real and what is not in
...more
Elysa
Apr 20, 2014 Elysa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-chicks
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
Apr 23, 2010 Toni Osborne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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