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Two New Reviews for The Beautiful West & The Beloved of God

We’re excited to announce two new rave reviews of The Beautiful West & The Beloved of God by first-time novelist Michael Springate. Charles R. Larson from Counterpunch has called the novel an “erudite and smart exploration” of cultural differences, and Nilambra Ghai from Montreal Serai has stated that it “forces the reader to re-visit assumptions; to re-think what we are as Canadians; and to re-connect with what should be sacred, and is not”.

The Beautiful West & The Beloved of God depicts the changing relationship between a young woman named Elena, who arrives in Montreal with her seven-year old-daughter, and a young man named Mahfouz, who works at the Middle-Eastern café that she frequents. A relationship inevitably develops between the two, but becomes strained when Mahfouz goes to Cairo for a possible business venture with his uncle. That summer, however, Mahfouz doesn’t return from Cairo, and his father is picked up and held indefinitely for unknown charges on undisclosed evidence. No longer in contact with each other, Elena and Mahfouz must separately come to terms with their historical situation, preparing for a future shaped by forces they struggle to understand.

In the weekend edition of Counterpunch, Charles R. Larson describes The Beautiful West & The Beloved of God as being a powerful account of intercultural relationships, especially for a first-time novelist. He states that Springate “packs a wallop as he explores these unsettling issues with the grace and finesse of a much more experienced writer, especially with the novel’s breathless resolution”. He asserts, “The Beautiful West & The Beloved of God is an amazing novel, frightening in its honesty, timely in its observations. Some of the scenes of Michael Springate’s unflinching picture of Western imperialism will leave you breathless”.

Nilambri Ghai, writing for Montreal Serai also remarks that the novel “is not easy to put down, but even more difficult to put away”. The Beautiful West & The Beloved of God asks the difficult questions, “How do I define myself: by what I am or what I am not? Why have I confined myself within razor wires and simplistic points of view? Why have I doomed myself to inaction?” Yet, in asking these questions, the novel nevertheless portrays characters who “display unusual resilience and determination”. The Beautiful West & The Beloved of God “moves in a brevity of styles that cuts through to the reader’s heart” and manages to reside there.

Michael Springate was born in Montreal and is currently a resident of Vancouver. The Beautiful West & The Beloved of God is his first novel. He has written several plays including Historical BlissDog and CrowThe Consolation of PhilosophyThe Geese SonnetsFreeport Texas, and Kut: Shock and Awe. He is currently an Artistic Associate with Full Circle: First Nations Performance, a member of the Board of Directors of the Vancouver Latin American Cultural Centre, and a founding member of the film group Commercial Drive Productions.

To read the full review by Charles R. Larson, you can visit the Counterpunch website at:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/01/16/eastwest-strangleholds/

To read the full review by Nilambri Ghai, you can visit the Montreal Serai website at:

http://montrealserai.com/2015/01/18/to-forget-is-to-give-in-to-fear/

The Beautiful West & The Beloved of God is available on the Guernica website at:

http://www.guernicaeditions.com/title/9781550718584

Posted in Fiction, News, Reviews.