Book Review: Waiting for Columbus

Waiting for Columbus

Thomas Trofimuk

Doubleday

336 pages

Anna Anderson was a woman found in Berlin in 1920 who spent her entire life from that point on claiming to be Duchess Anastasia, who should have been dead along with her entire family after they were all executed by the Bolsheviks in July of 1918.  She was institutionalized for quite some time but was able to convince many people that she really was Duchess Anastasia, including some of the royal family.  Her identity was proven to be false after her death thanks to DNA testing, but her guise was so convincing that I believed it wholeheartedly after reading her story.

Waiting for Columbus , by Thomas Trofimuk reminded me of Anna Anderson’s story—the similarities were eerie.  Instead of pretending to be Grand Duchess Anastasia though, the protagonist claims he is Christopher Columbus.  Nothing can convince him otherwise and he is so compelling that others want to believe him, despite the fact that the story takes place in modern day Spain and we all know Columbus died centuries ago.

In the book, “ Columbus ” is a ladies man.  He practically has women flinging themselves at his feet and he is constantly recounting his love affair with any on of his women.  His charm takes affect on Consuela, one of the nurses in the mental institution, and she becomes enamored with Columbus .  To make matters worse, Columbus prefers to be naked most of the time, which only adds fuel to the fire.

I really wanted (and expected) to like this one.  It got glowing reviews, which mostly focused on the ending.  Softdrink, from Fizzy Thoughts said:

While the bulk of this novel is about Columbus and his entertaining stories, the end is what makes the book. But I can’t tell you about the end, because then I’d just destroy your reading journey. Let me just say it’s incredible. Moving. And awesomely done. You just have to have faith that everything will be explained, and sit back and enjoy the experience.

Honestly, I think it’s one of those books I just didn’t “get”.  Maybe I just wasn’t invested enough by the novel to have the same reaction once I got to the end.  I am really not sure what my problem was, really.  I just wasn’t affected by it the way others have been, which makes me feel left out!  What it boils down to is a common problem—I got my expectations up so high that probably nothing could have lived up to them.  So despite the fact that I wasn’t wowed like I expected to be, I would still recommend this book to others.  It is a great story and I feel like the premise is fresh, despite the fact that it reminded me so much of Anna Anderson’s story.

Other Reviews:

Fizzy Thoughts

Sophisticated Dorkiness

The Book Lady’s Blog

Book Addiction

It’s all About Books

S Krishna’s Books

I borrowed this book from my public library.

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9 Responses

  1. Well, darnit. I knew this was bound to happen. But I know how you feel (hello, Poisonwood Bible, I’m looking at you)…we can’t all always love the same books!

  2. I tried to read an ARC of this quite a while back but it just didn’t do much for me either. I couldn’t get into the writing, and then felt bad when it got raves from everyone else. I’m glad to know I wasn’t alone!

  3. I’m sorry you didn’t like this, I’ve had it on my shelf for a good 6 months and still haven’t gotten to it. One of these days!

  4. This has been getting great reviews but I have been on the fence about it. Think I’ll make it a “maybe.” You didn’t like The Poisonwood Bible, either? Argh–I’m just about to start that for my book club.

    • Don’t worry–The Poisonwood Bible is actually a great book club choice because it offers a lot for discussion. I didn;t dislike it per se–it just didn’t live up to my expectations. It’s still a good story though.

      • Well, at least now I’ll go into it with more realistic expectations. This is our leader’s fav book and she has pumped it up so much.

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