Found in the treacherous Strait of Gibraltar, a man who answers only to the name of Christopher Columbus is delivered to a mental institution in Sevilla, Spain. Nurse Consuela, a lonely young woman searching for love, who listens to his fantastical tales of adventure and romance day after day, tries desperately to make some sense of why this man has been locked up. Waiting for Columbus vividly and tenderly explores the fragility of the mind when faced with incomprehensible pain and a timely look at how the psychological reverberations of terrorism continue long after the blast.More
When the man claiming to be Christopher Columbus arrives at a mental institution in Sevilla, Spain, he immediately demands the staff get the Queen on the phone. Found in the Strait of Gibraltar, ostensibly after shipwreck, Columbus is completely undaunted by the anachronisms in his account of events and cannot take seriously his doctor's assertion that he is not who he believes he is. He may be repressing the memory of a traumatic event, but he is certainly no fool. Columbus is a dignified explorer, but in this manifestation he is perpetually lost, raging full steam ahead in whatever direction he is already facing. Waiting for Columbus oscillates between the vivid stories he tells of how he acquired his ships in 15th-century Spain, his intense love affairs and obsession with beautiful women, his nurse Consuela's growing fascination with him, and the investigator trying to find him. Thomas Trofimuk's novel is full of nuance and moments of déjà vu. His protagonists all have something in common: they are unknowingly searching for something they cannot name, while the answers lay in their pasts. Columbus himself becomes a metaphor; the lost navigator on a ship encased in fog, wondering if to move in any direction at all is better than staying still. Grover Gardner is perfectly suited as narrator, with his confident inflection and stern tone. Gardner's voice easily becomes the voice of Columbus: all-knowing, consistent, and firm. His performance makes tangible the sensuality of this work, which, at heart, is about the complexity and specificity of our individual psyches and the influence of the past on our lives. The subtleties of Trofimuk's narrative thrive with Gardner's mysterious inflection, which continually hints at the elusiveness of memory, the impossibility of suppressing desire, and the inevitability of revelation of that which is suppressed. Erin ikeler
"Trofimuk is a master of feeling." (Globe and Mail)
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