Bellevue Square

Bellevue Square

eBook - 2017
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*Winner of the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize*

A darkly comic literary thriller about a woman who fears for her sanity--and then her life--when she learns that her doppelganger has appeared in a local park.

Jean Mason has a doppelganger. She's never seen her, but others swear they have. Apparently, her identical twin hangs out in Kensington Market, where she sometimes buys churros and drags an empty shopping cart down the streets, like she's looking for something to put in it. Jean's a grown woman with a husband and two kids, as well as a thriving bookstore in downtown Toronto, and she doesn't rattle easily--not like she used to. But after two customers insist they've seen her double, Jean decides to investigate.

She begins at the crossroads of Kensington Market: a city park called Bellevue Square. Although she sees no one who looks like her, it only takes a few visits to the park for her to become obsessed with the possibility of encountering her twin in the flesh. With the aid of a small army of locals who hang around in the park, she expands her surveillance, making it known she'll pay for information or sightings. A peculiar collection of drug addicts, scam artists, philanthropists, philosophers and vagrants--the regulars of Bellevue Square--are eager to contribute to Jean's investigation. But when some of them start disappearing, she fears her alleged double has a sinister agenda. Unless Jean stops her, she and everyone she cares about will face a fate much stranger than death.
Publisher: New York :, Doubleday Canada,, 2017
ISBN: 9780385684842
Branch Call Number: Online eBook
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file, rda
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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Mar 20, 2018

This is a challenging read and not for those who like a linear straightforward story. I love stories that surprise me and immerse me in someone else's world, and Bellevue Square definitely did that for me. I also enjoyed the Kensington Market setting and I thought Michael Redhill did a wonderful job of capturing the collection of strange characters one might meet hanging out in the parks of downtown Toronto every day all day.

It was one of my favourite books of 2017 for sure.

Mar 01, 2018

Couldn't get into at all and no interesting characters so gave up after 50 pages

Feb 11, 2018

A challenging but worthwhile read, exploring the complicated path to which mental illness can lead, as well as the mystery of self-consciousness and identity. initial story draws the reader in but then the line between reality and hallucination gets blurred in fascinating ways. Well-crafted Giller winner!

Judy F F Vetro
Jan 20, 2018

I was hoping the comments would help me understand what this novel was about, but I am still in the dark. Such a waste of my time.

Dec 15, 2017

I was somewhat intrigued while reading the first section of the book, but the story became more bizarre and annoying as it went along.

KateHillier Dec 11, 2017

I'm not entirely sure what just happened here but I am intrigued; especially considering there are to be other related novels coming along soon?

Jean owns a book store and one day a customer tells her that she saw someone who looks just like her in Kensington Market. Jean quickly becomes obsessed with meeting her twin but things proceed to get quite weird. Quite, quite weird.

The prose is very simple but there is a lot going on with regards to identity, reality, and consciousness. It's also unabashedly Canadian, or rather Torontonian. Glad for that since it at least puts your feet on the ground somewhere!

I need to read this one again. With a notepad.

Nov 26, 2017

Bellevue Square, now a 2017 Scotiabank Giller prize winner, tells the story of Jean Mason and her search for her doppelganger who, she suspects, has participated in some dark behavior. The tale begins in a straight-forward manner but slowly the literary waters become murky. We find ourselves with not only an unreliable narrator but, with an added twist, the question of who IS the narrator. I did enjoy the descriptions of Bellevue Park and environs, as well as of the people Jean interacted with in these neighbourhoods as I felt it added to the atmosphere.

Ultimately, however, this is the tale of mental health and, if the confusion I felt in reading parts of this novel is a representation of what someone with mental illness might experience, then Redhill has been successful in his story-telling.

I feel like this is the type of book that warrants a second reading to make sense of the multi-faceted plot and to pick up on some of the aha moments and clues that might have been missed the first-time round. I will definitely watch out for the second panel in this triptych with the hopes that it will give further clarity to some of my unanswered questions.

Nov 23, 2017

How this book won the Giller prize, I’ll never figure out. It is bizarre, with short choppy sentences. I quit halfway time is worth something.

Oct 15, 2017

This story starts with a great idea but quickly moves toward the bizarre. By the time I was a third of the way in, it became apparent that this was going in a different direction than what I was expecting so I adjusted my expectations and read on but I could never really catch ground with this book. I have two main issues. The first is the rambling nature of the storytelling. This may not be an issue for some people but it became irritating to me as the book progressed. My second issue was the style of writing (not the quality - just the style). It was written in such a simple basic style that I had to resist the urge not to just skim over the text. I probably would have if it wasn't for the fact that I was desperately trying to connect with the story. No luck there. I was off balance for the whole book. I never knew what was real and what wasn't. I'm sure that was a deliberate technique but it prevented me from engaging with any of the characters. I have to give the author credit for the concept and the many layers of story he constructed to write this book. I don't know how he kept track of it himself. It just wasn't a great read for me.

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