Waiting for Columbus

  • by Thomas Trofimuk
  • Narrated by Grover Gardner
  • 10 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.


Audible Editor Reviews

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


What the Critics Say

"Trofimuk is a master of feeling." (Globe and Mail)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


I fell in love with this book. When it starts you are not really sure where it is going, but it is written so beautifully that it catches you up in the unfolding stories. It is a little melancholy, but there is heart and humor in it as well. I have been recommending this book to everyone since I finished it. The characters are interesting and you feel such compassion for Columbus. Download this book, you won't regret it.
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- Anna

Enchanting Story

I had been hearing people talk about Thomas Trofimuk's book Waiting for Columbus every time I turned around so, I finally broke down and bought the audiobook from Audible. The book is narrated by Grover Gardner and he does an excellent job. So what's the story about? This mysterious man is found in the Straits of Gibraltar and is taken to a mental hospital in Spain. He insists he is Christopher Columbus. Throughout the story, Columbus tells stories to Nurse Consuela (who is falling in love with the storyteller). These stories tell about the loves of Christopher Columbus, of Columbus' struggle to get his ships and sail around the world, Columbus' fear of the Inquisition and his relationship with Queen Isabella. The stories are beautiful fantasies that have details of modern items interspersed in them (such as telephones) so that you never quite believe they are true but you desperately want them to be true. As Columbus tells his stories, Nurse Consuela and the doctors at the institution are trying to figure out who this man is and what has made him disappear into this fantasy world.

Overall, this was one of the best books I've read in a long time. At times, the story would slow down a bit but I didn't really realize it because Trofimuk uses language so well. His descriptions, his word choice, his sentence structure are all unique and enchanting. Numerous times I found myself thinking "I would never have thought to use that description" or "what an odd way to write that sentence." Plus, there was a very interesting point of view change in the book that I still haven't quite figured out the reason for but I can tell it was deliberate. On top of that, it's not often that a narrator reads a story to where I can feel the sentence structure and nuances of the language and Grover Gardner did that.

I definitely recommend this book to anybody who loves a good
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- melrailey "Mel"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-25-2009
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.