Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Bellevue Square Review

Bellevue Square
By: Michael Redhill

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.

I just finished the book a few minutes ago, and wanted to get this review done before I have to start getting ready for work, but I really have no idea what to say about this book. I have no idea what the hell happened or how I feel about it. About halfway through the book I realized that I had no idea what was happening, much like the main character Jean, I couldn't figure out what was real and what wasn't. I never did figure it out, if you're wondering. There was such a complicated web woven, full of strange characters and odd circumstances that I feel as though I needed a road map to navigate my way through it. I did expect a bit more suspense and fear based on the synopsis of the book and there was none of either of those things.

In books like this one the one thing that always stands out is the amazing writing by the author. I can't begin to fathom how, if I felt as though I needed a map to help me figure out what was going on, someone think up such a complicated web of events and characters and so perfectly put them on paper, making them come alive in a way that almost but doesn't quite make sense to the reader. In a sense it's complete brilliance, in another it makes me wonder if the author has a screw or two loose. How can someone so completely comprehend such an intense type of mental illness and then characterize it for other people to read and try to understand? I apologize if this is all gibberish, my brain still feels scrambled and confused. 

As much as I may not completely understand what I read or how I feel about it, and I doubt this will ever be a book I want to reread, I do think this book will haunt me for a while. I have been trying to unravel the twisted ball of yarn, that is this book, in my brain since I finished reading a few minutes ago and am no closer to figuring out the truth. If anything I have created more questions than answers. This was one of the most complicated and well written books I have ever read, and while it may not have been my cup of tea, I am glad I read it. I love a good puzzle every now and then. 

Final Rating:
Probability of Rereading:

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

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