Bellevue Square

Bellevue Square

A Novel

Book - 2017
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Jean Mason has a doppelganger. At least, that's what people tell her. Apparently it hangs out in Kensington Market, where it sometimes buys churros and shops for hats. Jean doesn't rattle easy, not like she used to. She's a grown woman with a husband and two kids, as well as a thriving business, and Toronto is a fresh start for the whole family. She certainly doesn't want to get involved in anything dubious, but still ... why would two different strangers swear up and down they'd just seen her--with shorter hair furthermore? Jean's curiosity quickly gets the better of her, and she visits the market, but sees no one who looks like her. The next day, she goes back to look again. And the day after that. Before she knows it, she's spending an hour here, an afternoon there, watching, taking notes, obsessing and getting scared. With the aid of a small army of locals who hang around in the market's only 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, it becomes apparent that her alleged double has a sinister agenda. Unless Jean stops her, she and everyone she cares about will face a fate stranger than death.
Publisher: Toronto :, Doubleday Canada,, [2017]
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780385684835
Branch Call Number: F RED
Characteristics: 262 pages ; 24 cm


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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.

May 16, 2018

What did I just read? I was left with so many questions that it was unsatisfying.
Jean Mason has a doppelganger and then her life takes a runaway train to crazy town.

May 13, 2018

This book was a real struggle. I did get all the way through, but now wonder why. The only reason it gets 1/2 star is because of the interesting description of Bellevue Square and the characters who inhabit it. But that is not enough reason to wade through the convoluted morass of “real/not real” wandering that make up the non-plot trip through psychosis.

May 09, 2018

Unmemorable. I was not able to determine what was happening, what was real and what was fantasy. The ending only added to the mystery. The blurb on the cover said it was a ghost story. But the only ghost I could identify in this story was perhaps the ghost of a plot? If this is what it is like to undergo a nervous breakdown, it is indeed awful. But the novel might have been more effective if we saw what was happening from a sane person's viewpoint, as well as from the protagonist's.

Apr 23, 2018

Just terrible.

Apr 17, 2018

A whodunit for young adults. Cartoon characters and ordinary dialogue. There is no resolution of the "story." I would never have read it if I'd known it was the first part of a trilogy. For that matter, I may skip all Canadian books from now on if this is the best!

Apr 12, 2018

This book won the Giller prize and has been hailed as very worthy literature. I was extremely disappointed in it and am not alone in that. However, as well as the rambling, cumbersome storyline, I had other difficulties with it, primarily that the male author presumes to write in the first person about a female experience of mental illness. It is difficult to write in the first person about experiences with which we are personally familiar, but to do so in this way I found objectionable - why was Jean not John? Furthermore, the language style was very masculine, just adding to the problem. Definitely cannot recommend this one!

Apr 06, 2018

I had looked forward to reading this book. The beginning was promising enough but the plot quickly became bizarre and then more and more incoherent as it went along. I could not even warm up to the main character. The end could not come quickly enough. A complete disappointment!

Apr 05, 2018

I waited a long time to borrow this and my time spent reading it was a WASTE. I have never read any other titles by this author and based on this book I don't intend to. It was wordy, confusing, and didn't come to a resolution. It was a struggle to get through and despite my high hopes, this fell far short.

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