Waiting for Columbus (Hardcover)

By Thomas Trofimuk

Doubleday, 9780385529136, 336pp.

Publication Date: August 25, 2009

Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (8/24/2009)
Paperback (10/5/2010)
Compact Disc (10/1/2009)
Audio Cassette (8/1/2009)
Pre-Recorded Audio Player (11/1/2009)
MP3 CD (8/25/2009)
Compact Disc (8/25/2009)

List Price: 26.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.

September 2009 Indie Next List

“Christopher Columbus, institutionalized in an insane asylum in contemporary Spain, is sedated, isolated, and wishing for his cell phone so he can call the queen to check on his ships. In this back-and-forth between past and present, delusion and reality, the reader is swept into Columbus' world and empathizes with Nurse Consuela, whose friendship with her patient draws her into feelings she struggles to control. I loved the history -- and the mystery -- of Waiting for Columbus.”
— Cheryl McKeon, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA
View the List


A man arrives at an insane asylum in contemporary Spain claiming to be the legendary navigator Christopher Columbus. Who he really is, and the events that led him to break with reality, lie at the center of this captivating, romantic, and stunningly written novel.

Found in the treacherous Strait of Gibraltar, the mysterious man who calls himself Columbus appears to be just another delirious mental patient, until he begins to tell the “true” story of how he famously obtained three ships from Spanish royalty.

It's Nurse Consuela who listens to these fantastical tales of adventure and romance, and tries desperately to make sense of why this seemingly intelligent man has been locked up, and why no one has come to visit. As splintered fragments of the man beneath the façade reveal a charming yet guarded individual, Nurse Consuela can't avoid the inappropriate longings she begins to feel. Something terrible caused his break with reality and she can only listen and wait as Columbus spins his tale to the very end.

In the tradition of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle and The Dogs of Babel, this unforgettable novel mines the darkest recesses of loss and the extraordinary capacity of the human spirit. It is an immensely satisfying novel that will introduce Thomas Trofimuk to readers who will want to hear his voice again and again.

About the Author

Thomas Trofimuk is a writer, editor, and communications consultant. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, with his wife and daughter.