Bellevue Square by Michael Redhill

First lines. 2. Publisher: No Exit Press 3. People scenery at Bellevue Square Park in Kensington Market, Toronto By Josephers. Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0. via Wikimedia
Holy smoke! What was that all about? That was a wild ride.

Quotes from the book:

  • “Men want to be right. Let them, I say. It drives him crazy when I won’t take the other end of the rope. ‘Okay, you’re right.’ are three devastating words.
  • I have a bookshop called Bookshop. I do subtlety in other areas of my life.”
  • “We all know that bad things are coming. Advice: don’t get too comfortable. Read short books, don’t see your doctor too often.”

Plot summary:

Jean, married with 2 children, has a bookshop in Toronto. When she is told by several different people that they have seen someone who looks just like her at Bellevue Square, she starts going there as often as she can to find her double. She meets a variety of people, and the narrative becomes a complexity of unreliable viewpoints and plot twists.

Other editions:

Excerpt online at Penguin Random House | Reading Guide online

Reviews:

  • This is a bewildering book. And, strangely, that is part of its draw. Reading Bellevue Square is as captivating as it is unsettling. Full review: Toronto Star
  • “To borrow a line from Michael Redhill’s beautiful Bellevue Square, “I do subtlety in other areas of my life.” So let’s look past the complex literary wonders of this book, the doppelgangers and bifurcated brains and alternate selves, the explorations of family, community, mental health, and literary life. Let’s stay straightforward, and tell you that beyond the mysterious elements, this novel is warm, and funny, and smart. Let’s celebrate that it is, simply, a pleasure to read.” Scotiabank Giller Prize Jury comment

Awards:


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