Bellevue Square by Michael RedhillBellevue Square by Michael Redhillsticker-burst

Bellevue Square

byMichael Redhill

Hardcover | September 19, 2017

Pricing and Purchase Info

$21.01 online 
$32.00 list price save 34%
Earn 105 plum® points
Quantity:

In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores

about

 



*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.

"All told, this modern ghost story … will not soon be forgotten." - The Toronto Star

*Scotiabank Giller Prize Finalist*

MICHAEL REDHILL is a novelist, poet, playwright and former publisher of Brick. He is the author of the novels Consolation and Martin Sloane, a finalist for the 2001 Giller Prize; the short story collection Fidelity; and the poetry collection Light-Crossing; among other acclaimed works. The author lives in Toronto, ON.
Loading
Title:Bellevue SquareFormat:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 9.3 × 6.2 × 0.9 inPublished:September 19, 2017Publisher:Doubleday CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385684835

ISBN - 13:9780385684835

Look for similar items by category:

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good story On top of the fact that it's a pretty good read, the setting is excellent.
Date published: 2017-11-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not what I expected Bellevue Square is one of those novels that starts out as one story and morphs into another. We start with Jean Mason, a bookstore owner in Toronto. She lives with her husband and two sons. Her bookstore, named Bookstore is visited by several regulars. One day her customers start telling her about a woman in Kensington Park who looks exactly like her, her doppleganger, but with shorter hair. So Jane decides to investigate for herself. She makes regular visits to Kensington Park and sits against a wall to find her doppleganger, named Ingrid Fox. Jane observes the people in the park who are homeless, are dealing with mental issues, people who hand out food, to name a few. She starts to pay a few if they spot Ingrid. Soon, these people start disappearing, one of her regulars commits suicide and a new friend Katerina is murdered. Throughout the novel we learn about Jane’s sister Paula and her mother. We also learn more about Jane’s family. Take your time reading this novel. Most of the time is spent in Jane’s head as she starts to question her identity. Is she having an out of body experience? Is Ingrid real? The novel is an examination of mental illness and Michael’s writing into the questions Jane actions, the clues and quest she goes on to find out what’s happening in her mind, about the truth of who Ingrid is, capture the intense fear, emotion that Jane experiences. Jane quickly becomes obsessed with Ingrid. Following the woman she believes to be Ingrid and even breaks into her house. Reading his words we see Jane becoming unhinged. She doesn’t know what the truth is anymore. Her mind is unravelling. Jane starts questioning her life and the people in it. She isn’t who is thought she was and she starts questioning the truth of her life, her identity. Bellevue Square starts out as a thriller, a mystery and quickly becomes bizarre. Is Jane imagining it all? It is a vastly different novel from anything I’ve ever read. Again, Michael does a great job of capturing the mind of Jane. On a different note, this book is based in Toronto and I really enjoyed following Jane in it. I devoured this books from the first page.
Date published: 2017-11-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not what I expected Bellevue Square is one of those novels that starts out as one story and morphs into another. We start with Jean Mason, a bookstore owner in Toronto. She lives with her husband and two sons. Her bookstore, named Bookstore is visited by several regulars. One day her customers start telling her about a woman in Kensington Park who looks exactly like her, her doppleganger, but with shorter hair. So Jane decides to investigate for herself. She makes regular visits to Kensington Park and finds a wall in to find her doppleganger, named Ingrid Fox. Jane observes the people in the park who are homeless, are dealing with mental issues, people who hand out food, to name a few. She starts to pay a few if they spot Ingrid. Soon, these people start disappearing, one of her regulars commits suicide and a new friend Katerina is murdered. Throughout the novel we learn about Jane’s sister Paula and her mother. We also learn more about Jane’s family. Take your time reading this novel. Most of the time is spent in Jane’s head as she starts to question her identity. Is she having an out of body experience? Is Ingrid real? The novel is an examination of mental illness and Michael’s writing into the questions Jane actions, the clues and quest she goes on to find out what’s happening in her mind, about the truth of who Ingrid is, capture the intense fear, emotion that Jane experiences. Jane quickly becomes obsessed with Ingrid. Following the woman she believes to be Ingrid and even breaks into her house. Reading his words we see Jane becoming unhinged. She doesn’t know what the truth is anymore. Her mind is unravelling. Jane starts questioning her life and the people in it. She isn’t who is thought she was and she starts questioning the truth of her life, her identity. Bellevue Square starts out as a thriller, a mystery and quickly becomes bizarre. Is Jane imagining it all? It is a vastly different novel from anything I’ve ever read. Again, Michael does a great job of capturing the mind of Jane. On a different note, this book is based in Toronto and I really enjoyed following Jane in it.
Date published: 2017-11-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from ok reading this gave me a different perspective
Date published: 2017-11-08
Rated 1 out of 5 by from BORING STORY This book did not hold my attention. The characters were flat. I am an avid reader but this book is one that I could not finish. I was very bored with the story line. It repeated certain aspects over and over again.
Date published: 2017-10-13
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Very redundant story I was very disappointed with this book. I found the story to be very redundant in many ways. The characters were flat...not much depth. I am an avid reader but this book did not hold my attention.
Date published: 2017-10-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fiendishly clever... Bellevue Square is the latest book from Michael Redhill. It's also a Scotiabank Giller Prize Finalist. The premise? A customer in Jean Mason's bookstore tells her that she has a double, a doppelganger. Jean is intrigued and heads to Bellevue Square (a park) to see if she too can see this woman. I was intrigued by the idea of the double. And my interest was further piqued by this early line..."I put the phone away and at that exact moment a woman I would later be accused of murdering walked into my shop." And with those two pieces, I thought I was in for a mystery. And I was - but the book certainly did not unfold in any way I could have predicted. There is so much more to Jean's tale. The facade that Jean presents to the world - and her family - has cracks in it. Redhill's writing in Bellevue Square is fiendishly clever. The reader must pay close attention as Jean's world turns on a dime. What is truth? What is fiction? There is no way to tell as we see everything from Jean's viewpoint - and she is most definitely an unreliable narrator. Her mind is frightening, yet brilliant. What I really enjoyed were the conversations and interactions between Jean and those that frequent Bellevue Square. While somewhat nonsensical at times, these interactions seem the closest to 'real' for Jean, often overshadowing the relationship with her husband and children. Take your time reading Bellevue Square. There is much to consider as Jean seeks answers. There are hints and references dropped along the way that had me forming in my mind what I thought was 'the answer.' And I was wrong. I think I hooted out loud when I realized what was happening in the final chapters. I don't want to say anymore and spoil the book, but overlapping is a word I'll throw out there. I am still not sure if I completely 'got' everything that Redhill has woven into his book, as some of it is a bit confusing. In an interview with the Globe and Mail, Redhill mentions that Bellevue Square explores loss and "is about the surprising (and disturbing) plasticity of the self and what happens when the sense you've made of things stops making sense." Bellevue Square is set in the streets and area around Kensington Market in Toronto. Redhill has lived and worked in the Toronto area for many years and his descriptions benefit from his first hand observations. References to Canadiana - Dominion grocery stores, Tim Hortons, Shopper's Drug Mart will be familiar to Canuck readers. Inger Ash Wolfe is Redhill's nom de plume. I was delighted to find references to the Hazel Micallef books. And it was only on reading the acknowledgements that I discovered Bellevue Square is "part one of a Modern Ghost, a triptych." I will pick up the next book, as I truly want to see where and what could transpire next. Thought provoking and fiendishly clever.
Date published: 2017-10-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! A thrilling book. Highly recommend.
Date published: 2017-10-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from interesting book, adding this to my collection interesting book, adding this to my collection
Date published: 2017-10-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding Very happy to have read this book
Date published: 2017-10-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Awesome read Spectacular plot and dialogue with riveting characters.
Date published: 2017-09-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Phenomenal! I don't know what to say about this book, because I feel like any discussion of the plot beyond the back cover blurb is going to be giving so much away. So, instead, I'll just say that this is an incredible book. It's so thought-provoking, and the plot itself is gripping (I actually gasped out loud at one point, which never happens).
Date published: 2017-08-10

Read from the Book

My doppelganger problems began one afternoon in early April.      I was alone in the store, shelving books and humming along to Radio 2. Mr. Ronan, one of my regulars, came in. I watched him from my perspective in Fiction as he chose an aisle and went down it.      I have a bookshop called Bookshop. I do subtlety in other areas of my life. I’ve been here for two years now, but it’s sped by. I have about twenty regulars, and I’m on a first-name basis with them, but Mr. Ronan insists on calling me Mrs. Mason. His credit card discloses only his first initial, G. I have a running joke: every time I see the initial I take a stab at what it stands for. I run his card and take one guess. We both think it’s funny, but he’s also shy and I think it embarrasses him, which is one of the reasons I do it. I’m trying to bring him out of himself.     He’s promised to tell me if I get it right one day. So far he hasn’t been Gordon or any of its short forms, soubriquets, or cog­nomens. Not Gary, Gabriel, Glenn, or Gene and neither Gerald nor Graham, my first two guesses, based on my feeling that he looked pretty Geraldish at times but also very Grahamish, too. He’s a late-middle-aged ex-academic or ex-accountant or some­one who spent his life at a desk, who once might have been a real fireplug, like Mickey Rooney, but who, at sixty-plus years, looks like a hound in a sweater. There is no woman in his life, to judge by the fine blond and red hairs that creep up the sides of his ears.     I know he likes first editions and broadsides, as well as books about architecture and miniatures. I keep my eye out for him. And he’s a gazpacho enthusiast. You get all kinds. I always discover something new when Mr. Ronan comes in. For instance, you can make soup from watermelons. I did not know that.      He came around a corner and stopped when he saw me. He was out of breath. “There you are,” he said. “When did you get here?”      “To the Fiction section?”      “You’re dressed differently now,” he said. “And your hair was shorter.”      “My hair? What are you talking about?”      “You were in the market. Fifteen minutes ago. I saw you.”      “No. That wasn’t me. I wasn’t in any market.”      “Huh,” he said. He had a disagreeable expression on his face, a look halfway between fear and anger. He smiled with his teeth. “You were wearing grey slacks and a black top with little gold lines on it. I said hello. You said hello. Your hair was up to here!” He chopped at the base of his skull. “So you have a twin, then.”      “I have a sister, but she’s older than me and we look noth­ing alike.” I don’t mention that Paula is certain that G. Ronan’s name is Gavin. “And I’ve been here all morning.”      “Nuh-uh,” he said. “No, I’m sure we . . .” He left the aisle. My back tingled and I had the instinct to move to a more open area of the store, where I could watch him. I went behind my cash desk and started to pencil prices into a stack of green-covered Penguin crime. I flipped up their covers and wrote 5.99 in each one, keeping my eye on my strangely nervous customer. Finally, he came out of the racks with The Conquest of Gaul and put it down on my desk.      “Oh . . . Mr. Ronan? I wanted to tell you I found a pretty first edition of Miniature Rooms by Mrs. Thorne. Original blue boards, flat, clean inside. Do you want to see it?”      “Yes,” he said, like it hurt to speak. I brought it out from the rare and first editions case. “It’s just uncanny, it really is,” he said.     “This woman.”      “Yes! She said hello back like she knew me. I swear to god she called me by name!”      “But I don’t know your name. Right? Mr. G. Ronan? I think you dreamt this.”      “But it just happened,” he said, like that explained some­thing to him. “And you knew my name.”      “Mr. Ronan,” I said, “I am one hundred per cent—”      I didn’t like the look in his eye. He began edging around the side of the desk, coming closer, and I backed away, but he lunged at me with a cry and grabbed me by the shoulders. Despite his size, I couldn’t hold him off and he backed me up, hard, against the first editions case. I heard the books behind me thud and tumble. “Take it off!” he shouted in my face. With one hand, he tried to yank my hair from my head. “Take off the wig!”      “Get back!” I shrieked. I pushed against his forehead with my palm. “Get off me!”      “Goddamn you, Mrs. Mason!” When a fistful of my hair wouldn’t tear off, he leapt up and stumbled backwards, his eyes locked on mine, but washed of rage. The blood had drained from his face. “Christ, that’s real!”      “Yes! It’s real! See? Real hair attached to my own, personal head.”      “Oh god.”      “What is wrong with you?”      He grovelled to the other side of the desk. “Oh my god. I’m so sorry. I must be having another attack.”      “Another attack! Of what? Do you want me to call an ambulance?”      “I’ll be okay. I’m really sorry. I don’t know what came over me, Jean. Forgive me.”      That was the first time he had ever used my name. “You scared me. And you hurt me, you know?” I began to feel the pain seep through the shock of being battered. “Are you sure I can’t call a friend or someone?”      “No. I’ll go home and lie down. I’m just so sorry.” He took his wallet out and put his trembling credit card down on the cash desk.      I tapped it for him. We stood together in a dreadful silence until I said, “Gilbert.”      “No,” he replied.

Editorial Reviews

Shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize"The opening chapters of this new opus, Bellevue Square, stick closely to the grip-lit script: simple, compelling prose, sudden plot twists, looming violence and a female narrator who swiftly proves unreliable. But as the reader becomes more and more absorbed in the story, the book quietly becomes something else. Something mystifying and haunting and entirely its own. . . . Reading Bellevue Square is as captivating as it is unsettling. . . . This modern ghost story . . . will not soon be forgotten." —Toronto Star"Longlisted for the Giller Prize, Bellevue Square is something of a performance. . . . In its taut span of 262 pages, Bellevue Square features several narrative and tonal hairpin turns. With each of these, our admiration for Redhill's storytelling dexterity burgeons. . . . I'd rather be lost in Redhill's ghost story than grounded in your average slab of tasteful literary realism." —The Globe and Mail"Sit yourself down in Bellevue Square and watch as parallel worlds collide. Redhill has written a mind-blowing brainteaser of a novel with plot twists worthy of David Lynch. A brilliant tribute to those among us whose brains are wired differently." —Neil Smith, author of Boo"By turns harrowing and mesmerizing." —Quill & Quire