SPAIN BOOK REVIEW: ‘Waiting for Columbus’ by Thomas Trofimuk

He appears out of the sea, washed up naked, in the treacherous Straits of Gibraltar. Seemingly delirious, and claiming to be Christopher Columbus, he is taken to an insane asylum in Seville, where astonishingly he starts to reveal the true story of how he set sail on behalf of the Spanish queen five hundred years ago.Consuela, a nurse at the Institute, is charged with helping him back to reality. She listens to his fantastic tales in the hope of discovering the truth. But as his story unfolds, she finds herself falling for her patient – no longer able to tell where truth ends and fantasy begins.Meanwhile, across the continent, Emile Germain is involved in a different search. He’s an Interpol officer on the hunt for a missing person, presumed dangerous. He’s a determined man, and when his investigation leads to Spain these two stories collide.Part romance, part mysterious thriller, this is a rich and emotional novel about love, loss, and the fragile beauty of our own life stories.

cover and blurb via amazon

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‘Columbus’, a man who stumbles from the ocean and says he is THE Christopher Columbus. But it’s the 21st century so how can that be true? Columbus is sent to an institute where mental illness staff can treat him. There, Consuela is the nurse on a mission to find this man’s real identity. The trouble is, when talking to Columbus, he seems to know so much, it’s as if he was just washed up from 500 years ago. But the stories have their troubles – Columbus meets his girlfriend at Starbucks and the Queen’s staff have cellphones and carry guns. But sometimes Columbus is so precise and detailed that he must have come from back in time. Consuela is left with such a bizarre puzzle to solve.

Columbus just wants to tell the story of his life, in painstaking detail with little speed, to the impatience of Consuela. She has been told maybe Queen Isabella sent Columbus off to sea because of a love quarrel, and Columbus’ friend is called Juan, a famous long-dead explorer. Columbus has a story to tell, and he isn’t sparing any flourishes of his mind.

The trouble is, someone else is looking for Columbus – a man from Interpol, Emil. Something ugly and messy has happened, and Columbus could be victim, a target,  or a criminal. But Consuela, a single woman with a mind for stories, has been sucked into Columbus and his tale. Between the drama a love, stories, wine and chess, Columbus, Consuela and Dr. Balderas are having quite the time at the mental institution. It is Interpol that would have the truth, if only they could fit all the pieces together.

This is a hard book to review without giving away the end, though sit down and enjoy a twisted world, mashed between the 15th and 21 century, with adventure, love, changes, plots and everything in between. You just need to try to keep up with the crazy Columbus!

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