Bellevue Square

Bellevue Square

A Novel

Book - 2017
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*Scotiabank Giller Prize Finalist*

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: Toronto : Doubleday Canada, [2017]
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780385684835
Branch Call Number: FIC Redhi
Characteristics: 262 pages ; 24 cm


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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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