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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 (195 ratings)

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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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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 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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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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Bellevue Square

This book was difficult to follow right from the first chapter. It created anxiety for me reading it. Still wasn't sure what was real even at the very end. Two thumbs down for me

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant

One of the best books I've read. The layers of symbolism and philosophical questions raised are super interesting. And it keeps you on the edge of your seat!

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Interesting Story

This book was very interesting and filled with twists and turns. I'm not a huge fan of fiction but thoroughly enjoyed this read and it's relationships to Toronto.

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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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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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    2 out of 5 stars
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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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    5 out of 5 stars
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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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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • 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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  • 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.