Bellevue Square by Michael Redhill ** Blog Tour Review** #BellevueSquare
I am delighted to feature Michael Redhill's novel, Bellevue Square, winner of the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize on the blog today. Published on 15th August 2018 in paperback, by No Exit Press , it is certainly a thought provoking read.
Jean Mason has a doppelganger.
She's never seen her, but others* swear they have.
*others | noun. A peculiar collection of drug addicts, scam artists, philanthropists, philosophers and vagrants the regulars of Bellevue Square.
Jean lives in downtown Toronto with her husband and two kids. The proud owner of a thriving bookstore, she doesn t rattle easily not like she used to. But after two of her customers insist they ve seen her double, Jean decides to investigate. Curiosity grows to obsession and soon Jean's concerns shift from the identity of the woman, to her very own.
Funny, dark and surprising, Bellevue Square takes readers down the existentialist rabbit hole and asks the question: what happens when the sense you've made of things stops making sense?
'Highly original, beautiful and unsettling. Michael Redhill takes a fascinating premise and turns it into something utterly mesmerising. I adored it' - Chris Whitaker, author of Tall Oaks and All the Wicked Girls
'An ambitious and engrossing novel by a writer at the height of his powers' - G J Minett, author of Lie in Wait and The Hidden Legacy
'Mystifying and haunting... as captivating as it is unsettling' - Toronto Star
'Echoes of premises mined by the likes of Philip K. Dick, Kazuo Ishiguro and Stephen King... our admiration of Redhill's storytelling dexterity burgeons' - Globe and Mail
How can I do this book justice? If you are looking for a simple and straightforward read, I would give this one a wide berth! It is complicated, highly unusual, thought provoking, confusing and completely original. As I read it, I had an internal dialogue going throughout, trying to second guess the events and at times, I was really not sure what was happening at all. At the beginning, you think that you know how Jean's story is going to pan out. Then it dawns on you that actually, you are not too sure just what is real and what might be in her mind. A step further and you realise that you are in the territory of wondering just what is reality and if someone exists in someone's mind, is that a form of existence in itself. Not to mention the tricky business of trying to work out just who could be imagining who- or not... I'd better stop before I completely fall down the hole that I am digging for myself!
Suffice to say, the story is structured and written with originality and a literary flair which mystifies the reader and offers up a challenging and unsettling read.
In short: Unreliable characters and a plot which haunts the reader.
About the Author
Michael Redhill is an American-born Canadian poet, playwright and novelist.
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Redhill was raised in the metropolitan Toronto, Ontario area. He pursued one year of study at Indiana University, and then returned to Canada, completing his education at York University and the University of Toronto. He was on the editorial board of Coach House Press from 1993 to 1996, and is currently the publisher and editor of the Canadian literary magazine Brick.
His play, Building Jerusalem, depicts a meeting between Karl Pearson, Augusta Stowe-Gullen, Adelaide Hoodless, and Silas Tertius Rand on New Year's Eve night just prior to the 20th century.
Thanks to the author, No Exit Press and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for a copy of the book and a place on the tour.
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