Amazon Exclusive: Andrew Davidson Reviews Waiting for Columbus
Andrew Davidson’s debut novel, The Gargoyle, was published in August 2008. It was one of Amazon.com’s “Best Books of 2008” and was Amazon.co.uk’s “Rising Star” for Autumn 2008. In addition to being a New York Times bestseller, The Gargoyle is being translated into twenty-nine languages. Read Davidson's exclusive Amazon guest review of Waiting for Columbus:
I hate Thomas Trofimuk.
I’m sure this sounds a tad extreme, especially since I’ve never met the man. Mr. Trofimuk could very well be a perfectly charming individual--kind to animals and small children--but I don’t care. I hate him in the small-hearted way that only writers (and perhaps actors) hate another: with a mixture of jealousy and miserable respect, hidden behind giant fake smiles. For the record, I should clarify that I don’t hate all writers, only those who produce books like Waiting for Columbus, which is exactly the worst kind of novel: fantastic, and written by someone other than me.
There are three reasons, specifically, that Columbus causes pain in my soul. First, because I wish I’d written it. Second, because I fear that Trofimuk has stolen all the good words. Third, because he tricked me. You see, normally I dissect novels rather than actually read them; I pull out the story’s entrails and comb through them inch-by-intestinal-inch, because anything I learn, I can steal. But Trofimuk made me forget my larcenous ways, and forced me to rush headlong through his story, reading it simply for pleasure. I’m a writer, goddamn it; I don’t do anything for pleasure!
If you give him the chance, prospective reader, Trofimuk will use his sorcery on you, too. He’ll steal precious hours from your life, which could be used for riding horses or volunteering for charity. He’ll make you ignore your family, and possibly even forget to feed your children. Worst of all, he’ll set you up with all these little details that you think are simply nice touches in the story, but are actually landmines planted in your subconscious, waiting to explode with pathos and beauty when you least expect it.
So go ahead. Let Trofimuk steal your time and explode your head. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you. --Andrew Davidson
From Publishers Weekly
Canadian writer Trofimuk's uneven novel begins with an inspired premise: a man claiming to be Christopher Columbus shows up at an insane asylum in contemporary Spain. Under the care of a nurse named Consuela, he begins to tell stories of Columbus's adventures, remembering some and reliving others. It is interesting enough at first, but the blending of then and now gets tiresome and hokey (as when, after strenuous intercourse, Columbus watches TV). Also, Columbus is a voracious lover who speaks in purple prose about how much he loves women. The women, real and imagined, likewise find him irresistible. (Indeed, even Consuela falls hard for Columbus.) Meanwhile, Interpol declares the mystery man officially suspicious and dispatches an agent specializing in cold trails to track him down. Trofimuk never quite pulls together a cohesive narrative; the imaginings of a mentally unwell man hold some promise, but too many developments are murky and inexplicable. (Aug.)
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