19 October 2009

Itty Bitty Book Review - Waiting for Columbus by Thomas Trofimuk

Ok, it's been a while since my last review, but everything I've read has been merely ok. I love to read, my brain feels like it needs to eat words to survive and so even though I've been reading every day there was nothing really that stood out. And then there was this book.

Waiting for Columbus takes place in modern day Spain at a psychiatric hospital where a new patient, claiming he's Christopher Columbus, arrives by force. He is a man found with no identification who genuinely believes he's trying to raise funds for a trip across the western sea of Spain to Japan. At one point I had to look at a map to see where Spain is, and whether or not it has a western coastline - indeed it does...but you'd sail right into Canada instead of Japan :)

Columbus's primary nurse is Consuela, a single woman in her mid-thirties that develops strong feelings for Columbus. He chooses her to bear witness to his stories about his journey to amass funds to cross the western sea, as well as his tales of love and friendship. While Columbus's stories are richly described bits of the 15th century, he occasionally peppers them with reality in the form of a hand gun or cell phone - enough to remind Consuela that Columbus is indeed from the 21st century. In between Columbus's stories the reader gets to find out why Columbus's brain felt the need to protect him with a fantasy world. We learn about Emile from Interpol in a secondary story line that weaves it's way into Columbus's world.

Reading the book made me want to go to Spain, even though not much of the country is described. Somehow the author paints Spain as a warm, kind, and relaxed place, rich with history and wine. Lots and lots of wine. Water is also featured heavily in the book, always described as a welcome and friendly thing, but never something someone is drinking. They are too busy drinking wine, coffee, and spirits.

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