Waiting for Columbus
Hey FTC: I’m getting tired of saying this, but I bought this one, too
I looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooved this book. Loved it. Love, love, loved it. You know, the kind of book love where you want to gush and convince everyone else to read it because it was that awesome.
But I have no idea what to say, so bear with me as I ramble.
Columbus arrives at a Spanish mental hospital. The staff has no idea who he is, and since it’s modern times, he’s obviously not the real Columbus. But the patient is adamant…he’s Columbus. And he offers rambling tales to prove it. He dreams of voyages and talks about all the women he’s loved (isn’t that a song?), his quest for ships, the pool games he played with Ferdinand and how Isabella was hot for his bod.
The great (but confusing) thing about his stories is that they are set in modern times. Columbus tosses in references to tv, coffee, and his car. Although, of course, there is no mention of America, as he hasn’t been there yet. And while this might throw you at first, it makes perfect sense to Columbus, and before too long, it’ll make perfect sense to you, too…in that kind of way that it really doesn’t make sense but you have no problem going along with it because you’re just along for the ride.
So the staff at the mental hospital (especially Consuela, his nurse) is baffled. Who is this guy? What is he hiding, or hiding from? They don’t pressure him, though. They continue to let him tell his stories, until slowly, hints of the truth start to emerge. And the truth is amazing…not at all what I expected, but consistent with all of the stories that Columbus has told. The end makes perfect sense, and is absolutely haunting.
The best thing about this book is the things that will bug you throughout Columbus’s stories have a purpose. For me, it was the falling women. Columbus introduces all of the women in his life as falling at his feet. Literally. They trip, they fall, they make a reference to their “fucking shoes.” The first time it happened I thought, “why?” The second time, “again?” By the third time, I was all, “WTF does this mean?!?” And at the end, my reaction was “oh my.”
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.
This book has been mentioned in a few places around the blogosphere (I first saw it on Rebecca’s blog…she loved it, too). But if you read the Amazon reviews (not something I usually do, but I was curious) they’re all over the place. But don’t listen to them. Listen to me. And Rebecca. This book is fantastic…fantastic as in “one of the best books I read this year” kind of fantastic. You should read it.