Bellevue Square

Bellevue Square

Book - 2017
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Jean Mason has a doppelganger. At least, that's what people tell her. Apparently it hangs out in Kensington Market, where it sometimes buys churros and shops for hats. Jean doesn't rattle easy, not like she used to. She's a grown woman with a husband and two kids, as well as a thriving business, and Toronto is a fresh start for the whole family. She certainly doesn't want to get involved in anything dubious, but still . . . why would two different strangers swear up and down they'd just seen her--with shorter hair furthermore?
Publisher: Toronto :, Doubleday Canada,, [2017]
ISBN: 9780385684835
Branch Call Number: FICTION RED
Characteristics: 262 pages ; 24 cm


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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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