Monday, March 8, 2010

Waiting for Columbus by Thomas Trofimuk (#15)

The setting is a psychiatric hospital in modern day Sevilla, Spain. A very disturbed patient is brought into the hospital, claiming to be Christopher Columbus. His nurse Consuela is mystified by Columbus's detailed stories of his life and experiences preparing for his voyage to the new world. As the story progresses, she finds her feelings for her patient become personal and begin to cross the line of what is appropriate.
I struggled a bit with the first half of this book because it often confusingly changes between modern times and Columbus's time, 500 years ago. For example there may be a scene seemingly set in the late 1400's but also including Starbucks or cell phones. I kept thinking, where is this book going and why is it so highly rated by so many people? If it hadn't been so highly acclaimed, I might have given up. But I'm glad I persisted; the ending is extremely satisfying and now I can recognize the poetic and beautiful writing.

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