Saturday, April 24, 2010
"Waiting for Columbus", by Thomas Trofimuk
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 caregiver Consuela how he cherishes dreams of sailing across the Western Sea , how he falls in love with every women he meets and how he came to wager everything on a single game of billiards with the king of Spain and many other tales of fantasy. While entertained by this evidently educated man's fantastical tales of adventure and love, Consuela tries to find clues as to why this man is so detached from reality and who he really is.
The story is told from three perspectives: the delusional man who is convinced he is Columbus, Consuela who finds herself romantically attracted to this unusual personality and Emile Germain, a French Interpol Officer who is scouring Spain for a mysterious person of interest. Their paths eventually cross in an intriguing mystery.
At first I found it hard to stay focussed, the story is multi-layered and unconventional, a big puzzle. The various details are taken from a mish-mash of 15th and 21st century events mixed with Columbus's strange ramblings. Slowly, I was hooked by the emotional intensity of this imaginative mystery. Mr Trofimuk is a storyteller that plants little details that are seemingly irrelevant but blossom when you least expect them to. His style grows on you, I enjoyed this novel.