Bellevue Square - Michael Redhill

Title: Bellevue Square
Author: Michael Redhill
Pages: 262
Published: 2017
Awards: Scotiabank Giller Prize (2017)
Genre: Fiction
Edition: e-book
Source: Personal Library

Description: From award-winning and bestselling author Michael Redhill comes 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. 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. (via Goodreads)

Thoughts:  I had purchased this book back in late 2017 after it had won the Giller Prize last fall.  I bought it because it had won a literary award, not because I was interested in the book, and because it was something I had kept returning to the library unread.  So fast forward to July of this year when my library book club picked this book as the book to read for our August meeting and I thought great; I can get one off my TBR pile

Well, I really didn't like it.  The writing was very good and very descriptive, but quite honestly I couldn't quite get the story that the author was trying to tell.  It felt convoluted, but I guess when you have a brain tumor, you do get convoluted and since this is to be part of a trilogy, maybe the answers will eventually come.  I just had a hard time understanding what the premise of the story was and therefore didn't really enjoy it.

Bottom line: While the writing is good, I just didn't understand the story.  The book really needs a reread at some point, but with books that I probably will enjoy more on my TBR list, I don't see myself getting back to this book, unless I am on a trip somewhere where I am desperate for a book. 

If you enjoy books where the protangist is a bit loopy and trying to discern what is and isn't real, then I would recommend it.

Rating: 2.75/5


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