Bellevue Square | Michael Redhill

One sentence:

What the fuck did I just read?

Three thoughts:

  • I was very caught off guard by the switch from this being a creepy novel about a doppelgänger to a creepy novel about someone’s mental health. But I liked it.
  • I read the first third of the book very slowly, unsure whether I wanted to continue. I absolutely flew through the rest of it. When it picked up, it really picked up.
  • I’m still confused by the ending. Who was actually alive, Jean or Inger? Or both?


  • Character: 4/5. The characters were interesting and dynamic, although Jean was a bit annoying. I also didn’t like her children being little assholes. I don’t think 10 and 12 year olds actually act like that.
  • Plot: 5/5. I loved it. It kept me guessing the entire time (literally. I’m still not sure what the ending meant.). The pace picked up about 1/3 of the way in, and there was a hint of a lot of interesting concepts (doppelgängers, ghosts, psychosis) and you’re never sure which one is actually a factor.
  • Setting: 5/5. I love books that take place in real locations. This one described Bellevue Square in Toronto, and I spent a lot of time looking up the actual locations on Google Maps. I enjoyed the way the author played with the setting, too. In Jean’s world, there’s a bookstore where she employs Terrence. In Inger’s world, there’s a pet store there, with a cashier named Terrence.
  • Style/Voice: 3/5. Both in the prose and in the dialogue, the author used a lot of archaic words that I had to look up – not because I have a weak vocabulary, but because they’re obsolete. The dialogue seemed spotty sometimes, and a bit fragmented. I sort of liked that, though.
  • Theme: 5/5. I thought this book focused heavily on the theme of personhood: what makes someone an individual? Is it our relationships with other people? Is it our own capacity for metacognition?

Overall Rating: 4.5

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