Thomas Trofimuk is a Canadian author who is new to me - and one I'm very glad to have found. The premise of Waiting for Columbus very much intrigued me.
A bedraggled man is forcibly delivered to an institute for the mentally ill in Sevilla, Spain. He insists that he is Christopher Columbus and it is imperative that he speak to the King and Queen about arranging for his ships. He needs to phone them right away.
Consuela is the nurse assigned to Columbus when he arrives. When Columbus begins to tell the story of how he got his boats, she is the one who listens. The stories are rich with details of the 15th century. Columbus tells Consuela tales of his loves, wants, trials and desires. Just when we're caught up in that time period, an anachronism interjected into the tale, such as using a cell phone or turning on a television, jars us back to the present day. What has happened to this man to make him retreat to the 15th century - and why Columbus? Consuela finds herself captivated (and a little bit in love with him), as do all who come into contact with him.
"For her, the details of his stories are remarkable. The clarity with which he paints these word pictures is sometimes quite marvellous. She sometimes finds herself caught beyond redemption, so enthralled that she wants to believe him. Something denied inside her yearns to believe him."
In a separate story line we meet Emile, a detective. His story is somewhat of a mystery as well. An incident from two years ago is alluded to, but not explained. Emile is just back to work. We know that he is good - very, very good at finding lost people. Does he hold the answer to 'Who is Columbus?'
Trofimuk had me spellbound, turning page after page. I was totally enthralled with Columbus's story and trying to tease out details that would give me a clue as to who he truly was. But I was just as caught up in the 1400's. The stories are lavish with detail, sensual and emotional. I almost wanted him to be Columbus.
Trofimuk's descriptions and prose are rich and evocative.
"Regardless of his ranting, she liked the colour of his voice. It sounded like burnt sienna, and at the bottom, the colour and texture of fine sand."
A unconventional, multi tiered tale of love, loss and redemption that will grab you and not let you go until the final pages......