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Bellevue Square

Written by: Michael Redhill
Narrated by: Sarah Mennell
Length: 8 hrs and 4 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (164 ratings)
Price: CDN$ 50.81
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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2017 Michael Redhill (P)2017 Doubleday Canada

What the critics say

" Bellevue Square is something of a performance.... In its taut span... 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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A Mind-Bending Must Read!

Great narration! She did a great job at bringing the characters to life. And the story was fantastic. You really have to pay attention, but it's worth it.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Out of Kilter

I can’t say that I enjoyed this book. It was so confusing. At times my interest would be peaked and then things would become plodding. I wasn’t able to develop a sense of connection wit the protagonist Jean, who is either mentally ill or the victim of a sci-fi plot.
I guess perhaps I am missing something here because it was a Giller prize winner but the bottom line is that I didn’t enjoy the read. I forced myself to finish it. The narrator did a good job.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A complete mindf@ck

What just happened? Wow. I’ll have to wait for the Netflix to pick it up. Worth the time. Great Canadian content.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

disinterested

Hate to write a bad review of a book set where I live but this one just flopped for me. RARELY do I find myself disinterested/bored by fiction. A book can fall into all the trappings of "bad" fiction and I still find myself enjoying listening or reading, still want to see how it plays out even if it's incredibly predictable. I find my mind wandering constantly while listening to this, I can't wait for it to be over and start something new because I don't care what happens.

I'm not sure why this book fails to interest. It IS well written and the story as a concept although wildly improbable is promising but somehow it just all falls apart.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Mildly confused, yet interested.

This book will leave you unfulfilled and guessing. If you’re looking for a psychological thriller, this isn’t it. If you’re looking for a story that will keep you mildly confused but interested - this is your book.

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Strange and Fresh Mystery

I've never read a book like this before. It's so familiar with its Toronto locality, but so very Alice in Wonderland simultaneously. A shorter read and packed with rich descriptions of characters and nuances you might need to re-listen to catch. If you like mysteries, mixed with magical realism, this is worth a shot.

#Audible1

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Favorite part of my morning walk

Absolutely love this book! #audible1 is a great way to stroll and lose yourself in a story.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

I'm on the fence

I'll start off by saying this isn't the type of novel I usually read, but once in a while I branch out and try something new.

I enjoyed the first half because it felt like a mystery novel, but then the author switched gears and it felt a bit jarring to me, as though I was reading two different stories...but if you've read this book you'll understand when I say that this was probably intentional and kept with the overall theme. So...yay?

It wasn't my cup of tea, but I recognize good writing when I see it, and this was good writing. There is a reason it has won awards, and you might just love it.

#Audible1

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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On the fence

I had a hard time deciding how to rate this book because I did enjoy parts of it but I didn’t like the end. I was waiting for it to come together and spoiler alert: it doesn’t really. I actually googled it to see if I missed something! Interested prose and it was captivating but it might not be for me. But also I heard that this was the first in a trilogy so perhaps it comes together in later books.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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Frustration!

This book started off okay. I was intrigued. But by the 3rd hour in I was just getting frustrated and found myself going backwards to try and figure out what I'd missed. I hadn't missed anything. If it was the author's intent to make you feel as frustrated as someone dealing with schizophrenia or some other dissociative disorder then it worked. I only stuck with it to the end thinking it would all be explained. It wasn't. Wish I could get a refund. Would not recommend it.

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  • Gerry
  • 2017-12-16

Sorry, not for me

If you are looking for a book that has lots of Toronto locations in it, then you may like this. If you want a book that has the laudable idea about treating mental illness like any other disease, then this is great. But frankly, it is so confusing with who is actually the real person and ends up not really clear (to me anyway), that I didn't enjoy it much. I bought it because if the outstanding beginning in the book store, but the story didn't hold up for me.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Phil L
  • 2017-12-05

WOW- Michael Redhill had me hooked from the beginning.!

This was one of the most “twisty” mentally challenging novels I’ve read in a long time. I could not guess what was going to happen next- which made it even more exciting! I think it was genius and hope the sequel comes out soon. Read this book- you’re not going to be able to put it down.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Roger Perrault
  • 2018-07-28

Total waste of time

I have not read a book this bad in many many years! I cannot imagine how this could win a Giller prize. The narrator is a woman but is really a man who does not know how woman behave or think. Characters are of the cardboard variety, introduced, not developed and then discarded. The plot line is bizarre and does not convince. I am sure that the author once worked in a bookshop, a hospital and has spent lots of time in public parks observing the fauna. There is even a-nod to the radio program “Writers and company”.

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  • Ellen P., Thornhill
  • 2018-02-07

Brilliant!

I love the writing style and detail in this book. Michael Redhill is a very detail-oriented author and I enjoyed imagining what his eloquent words were portraying. Definitely something I could read twice and I rarely say that. I really enjoyed this book especially because I hypothesized what was happening early on and could really appreciate where he went with it.