Now that my book review posts are all caught up, I have a number of events to write. It seems totally appropriate that I add a post about the September evening, at the Grimsby Author Series, when Michael Redhill inspired the crowd to read his latest novel, Bellevue Square. He described this book as having “one foot in mystery and a couple of toes in psychological terror”.
He spoke about the main character, Jean, who was a 42 year old mother who opened a bookstore in Toronto as she loses her grip on life. The book is the beginning of a tryptich of novels – he was very clear it will NOT be a trilogy but the stories will be “like panels” or an “indirect web”. He has the stories mapped out and it will be interesting to learn how they connect to Bellevue Square.
When asked about his research, he responded that “I am crazy” and that he had done 51 years of research! He stated that the “idea of normal is elusive” and that he has been interested in writing and thinking about how people perceive themselves. He feels that some individuals “can’t hide the torment or turbulence inside” and that he is interested in “what happens when the reinforcing structure comes away”. Having now read and reviewed Bellevue Square, the novel is unique and those familiar with Toronto will enjoy the familiar landmarks that provide the setting.
He spoke briefly of his time writing as Inger Ash Wolf. He had kept this a secret for 4 years as he had wanted those books to have a life of their own. He was asked whether it was fun to have readers speculating, interestingly he said he did like not and at this point, does not feel that there will be more Inger Ash Wolf books.
I had attended the evening with a resolve NOT to buy any books but walked away with a signed copy of Bellevue Square. I was curious after the reading and the discussion but also was encouraged to buy a copy since Bellevue Square had been announced as part of the Scotiabank Giller Prize short-list that day (see my post about attending the Between the Pages event).
At the time of the September event, there was no way of knowing that Michael Redhill would win the 2017 Giller Prize. His acceptance speech was moving and this article describing depositing his $100,000 prize into the bank where he had only $411 remaining is heartwarming. Congratulations to Michael Redhill!!!
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The way he describes his next two books makes me want to read them even more than I did before! Intriguing…
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