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Bellevue Square (2017)

por Michael Redhill

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
19515109,316 (3.39)31
Jean Mason has a doppelganger. At least, that's what people tell her. 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. With the aid of a small army of locals, she expands her surveillance. A peculiar collection of drug addicts, scam artists, philanthropists, philosophers and vagrants 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.… (mais)
  1. 00
    Trust Exercise por Susan Choi (beyondthefourthwall)
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  2. 00
    The Man Who Turned Into Himself por David Ambrose (beyondthefourthwall)
    beyondthefourthwall: Very different books, but both involve doppelgängers and the protagonist waking up with everything suddenly subtly different. Why? The answers get twisty.
  3. 00
    Night Film por Marisha Pessl (beyondthefourthwall)
    beyondthefourthwall: Fast-paced, clever, multilayered thrillers with an edge of horror, open to interpretation, which end up playing extensively with reliability and the nature of reality.
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    Lying Awake por Mark Salzman (beyondthefourthwall)
    beyondthefourthwall: Powerful visions: are they meaningful, or are they merely due to a neurological problem? Both protagonists are up against this very interesting tension.
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Mostrando 1-5 de 15 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Well written but confusing novel for me. I think it is deliberate that the author leaves you confused as to what is real and what is happening in Jean's head. I was okay with this until the novel ends abruptly with no closure or explanation for me. ( )
  Smits | Dec 2, 2020 |
A narrator so unreliable you are constantly left guessing what is truth, half-truth and reality. As close as a descent into madness as writing can get you. ( )
  Georgina_Watson | Jun 14, 2020 |
Michael Redhill’s Giller Prize-winning novel Bellevue Square guards its secrets closely. Set in Toronto, the novel features a twisty, zig-zaggy plot that careens unpredictably through a shape-shifting chain of events that, when all is said and done, seems to question the very nature of truth, reality and perception. Seemingly ordinary Jean Mason owns and operates a bookstore in a pleasant downtown neighbourhood crowded with cafés, specialty shops and upscale, refurbished homes. One day a regular customer of the bookstore, Mr. Ronan, comments that he has just seen Jean outside and asks how she managed to change her hair and clothes so quickly. Strangely, unnervingly, the encounter turns violent when Jean denies that the person he saw was her. Then, not long after this, a customer Jean has never met before enters the store with a similar tale: a friend of hers, who lives nearby, is a dead-ringer for Jean. Driven by curiosity, Jean befriends this stranger, whose name is Katerina, and begins her search for Ingrid Fox, her apparent doppelgänger. Jean’s search takes her to Bellevue Square, a park in the old city centre, near Kensington Market, where Ingrid has been spotted, a place occupied by a motley crew of intriguing and unusual characters (homeless misfits, addicts, derelicts), a few of whom she enlists to help her in her search. Then Katerina and Mr. Ronan both end up dead, and the plot apparently veers into thriller territory. As the weeks pass Jean’s obsession with Ingrid escalates. Each day she shuts the bookstore early in order to camp out in Bellevue Square and wait for Ingrid to put in an appearance. She lies to her husband Ian and her children about where she’s spending her time. The situation escalates further when Jean breaks into Ingrid’s home. Eventually Jean’s fixation with Ingrid dominates her waking hours, and she becomes a danger to herself and those around her. At this point the story swivels again. Jean is institutionalized and the reader learns that much of what he has been led to believe about Jean Mason is not necessarily true. In Jean Mason, Michael Redhill has created an archetypal unreliable narrator, someone with a story to tell but whose observations, for very good reasons, cannot always be trusted. The story Jean tells is often puzzling, sometimes confusing, sometimes frustratingly so, but because this happens repeatedly, the reader can only assume that it is a deliberate gambit on the part of the author, meant to throw us off the scent or keep us off balance. As we approach the chaotic denouement, Jean’s obsession drives her to increasingly bizarre and desperate behaviour, and we are left wondering if the elusive Ingrid Fox is real or a projection of a disordered mind. Redhill drops clues aplenty but declines to answer this question in a definite manner. However, this is not a problem since early on Redhill establishes that Bellevue Square is a book of hidden depths, where very little is as it seems, and where much is going on beneath the visible surface. Ultimately it will fall to the reader to decide if, having reached the end, getting there was worth the effort. ( )
  icolford | Mar 24, 2020 |
I'm still not sure what really happened in this book...what was real, what was a delusion, and who is having the delusions? Immediately upon finishing it, I was frustrated. But after a few days, the book is growing on me. It's a story about reality vs perception -- about whose truth is real, and I think the best way to appreciate the story is not to try to figure it out, but to try to understand what it's like to live with a mental illness. The confusion, fear and doubt that people experience come through very well.

What comes through less well is the impact on the families of those who live with mental illness. And, for me, the confusion in Jean's life made it harder for me to identify and sympathize with her....her condition remained the her defining (if not her only) characteristic; I was unable to see her as someone I cared about who was ill.

The book itself is well-crafted; the characters and plot less so. ( )
  LynnB | Sep 4, 2019 |
Wow, other people were right in comparing this to David Lynch's work. Doppelgangers and shifting realities and perceptions. This is the first book I've read where it would have been better to read a physical copy, because I wanted to keep flipping back because reality keeps changing, and it's so self-referential. Just like in the movie Mulholland Drive, you keep seeing repetitions and reflections and connections. And like Mulholland Drive, it would probably be worth re-reading to see what I catch the second time. I also want to read some commentaries on this now, to see what other people saw in it. My interpretation is (spoilers!!) that Jean really is Inger's doppelganger, and that's why her reality keeps changing when Inger's does. Or maybe she's what Inger is perceiving internally while she is unconscious in the hospital. And at the end, Inger's death means Jean's death also, and the quiet room could be the afterlife - St. Peter at the gates of heaven.
Side note: Canadian English profs are gonna loooooove teaching this one in CanLit. There's so much to delve into, it's kinda overwhelming. ( )
  xiaomarlo | Apr 17, 2019 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 15 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
The novel also conveys a formidable understanding of the role of doppelgangers throughout literature and myth and the sundry psychological malaises that might summon up such visions of solipsistic doom. But once we pass through the seismic shift at the novel's exact midpoint, even those comfortable with bafflement and wild flights of subjectivity might find themselves feeling excluded from Redhill's intricate design, a sort of latticework of unreliable memories shrouding a variety of unreliable views of reality. In its taut span of 262 pages, Bellevue Square features several narrative and tonal hairpin turns. With each of these, our admiration for Redhill's storytelling dexterity burgeons, while our investment in Jean's story itself diminishes. Still, I'd rather be lost in Redhill's ghost story than grounded in your average slab of tasteful literary realism.
 
Indeed, the opening chapters of this new opus, Bellevue Square, stick closely to the grip-lit script: simple, compelling prose, sudden plot twists, looming violence and a female narrator who swiftly proves unreliable. But as the reader becomes more and more absorbed in the story, the book quietly becomes something else. Something mystifying and haunting and entirely its own. ...This is a bewildering book. And, strangely, that is part of its draw. Reading Bellevue Square is as captivating as it is unsettlingAll told, this modern ghost story — the first of a planned triptych — will not soon be forgotten
 
With Bellevue Square, the first panel of a projected triptych titled Modern Ghosts, Michael Redhill puts his protagonist, Jean Mason, through wringer after wringer. As witnesses and vicarious participants, readers can appreciate Jean’s otherworldly predicaments, though they might experience greater bafflement than she does....A willing – if somewhat mystified – reader might at this point wonder if Redhill is heading toward a wild black comedy in the Blue Velvet vein, in which a well-mannered, snowy white individual gets doused with a rainbow of motley urban archetypes. Evidently, he’s not....Still, the core matter of “doppelgangerness” feels overwrought and hallucinogenic without being astounding or intellectually stimulating.

The more Jean is subsumed by the machinations of a plot that demands resolution, the less the novel engages. The story cites Goethe and de Maupassant as literary antecedents, and Bellevue Square aspires to embody an elevated ghost story. The subdued tale-within-a-tale of a woman lost in Toronto the Weird, however, would be captivating enough without the
stylistic pyrotechnics.
 
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My doppelganger problems began one afternoon in early April.
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Jean Mason has a doppelganger. At least, that's what people tell her. 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. With the aid of a small army of locals, she expands her surveillance. A peculiar collection of drug addicts, scam artists, philanthropists, philosophers and vagrants 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.

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