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
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc. - Distributor

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From Library Staff

List - Award Winners
VaughanPLAlyssia Apr 11, 2017

Scotiabank Giller Prize 2017

The novel centers on Jean Mason, a bookstore owner in Toronto, Ontario's Kensington Market neighbourhood who learns that she has an apparent doppelgänger named Ingrid Fox in the market's park, Bellevue Square, and becomes obsessed with finding the woman.

From the critics

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Dec 28, 2020

Excellent concept for a novel! Some parts were written so beautifully. Frequently hard to follow, as psychosis usually is...or...was it all a dream?

Feb 24, 2019

Whoa-whoa-whoa...what just happened here?!? We all know the premise, but what starts as a doppelganger mystery quickly ends up going further and further down a rabbit hole. Not even sure which rabbit hole; and its not the "red pill", just as Billy Pilgrim became unstuck in time I became unstuck in reality, no longer sure of what was real or imagined, doppelganger or dopplegangee, doppelgangee or doppelganger, truth or hallucination. Yikes, what a trippy read. I thought masterfully done. I had to "let go" and just enjoy the trip...and I did (both)!

Feb 24, 2019

This was intriguing at first but soon became tedious and undisciplined in its storyline. I continued because of its credentials as a Giller Prize contender but I wish I hadn't wasted my time. It was mercifully short.

Feb 23, 2019

I didn't finish this book as I found it boring. I really didn't want to know the details of people populating an urban park in downtown Toronto.

Feb 12, 2019

A very original book and Scotiabank Giller Prize winner. The main character, Jean Mason, appears throughout the first part of the book as a mildly eccentric but functional bookshop owner, wife, mother and sister. Even when she becomes obsessed with finding her mysterious doppelganger that she has been convinced exists by two of her bookshop clients, you can empathise with her. However, the story then becomes a question of how much of what is written represents reality. The author is at his best in his descriptions of the other characters in the book and their actions, a real mosaic of quirky, homeless and mentally ill people who are the regulars of Bellevue Square ( a real place in Toronto that has been getting gentrified). Redhill is not as proficient when he inhabits Jean. We are never sure just how mentally ill she is and that may be just the point he is making but this makes the second half of the book quite difficult to read with any real comprehension. As I have always had a bias towards books and movies with a defined ending, I would have liked the author to provide an epilogue if possible. I feel like I missed the point somehow.

Jan 11, 2019

Prose. Winner of the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Dec 12, 2018

I took this out as part of a book club recommendation for meetings past. First chapter successfully hooked me in unfortunately the storyline did not keep up the powerful initial impact. Did not finish.

Dec 12, 2018

Dislikes this book and didn't read it after 50 pages or so. Sort of fantasy, unreal, a bookstore owner has a doppelgänger and she tries to meet with her in Bellevue Square in Toronto.

Aug 22, 2018

I don't think the writer succeeded at what he tried to achieve with this book. I was left with the impression that he didn't know where he was going, and just improvised as he went along. There are many elements that are presented as clues about what's going on, but they are never followed through. The discussion of some physics theories of alternative worlds felt particularly gratuitous. They are presented, but for no apparent reason other than because they sound cool, since nothing else in the story refers to them in any way.

For interesting novels with surreal or unpredictable twists, books from Haruki Murakami or the early ones by Paul Auster are vastly more satisfying.

Jul 08, 2018

It took me three days to read this book, I honestly couldn't put it down it was captivating. It reminded me of the film Mulholland Drive if anyone has seen it.

It twists and turns, the only down side for me was the ending. I didn't feel as though it cleared things up for me.

I honestly think it's worth the read as I haven't read anything like this before, it is kind of mind blowing how he changes scenes in the book. Just give it a try.

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