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Quill and Quire’s Patricia Maunder Reviews The Beautiful West & The Beloved of God

Patricia Maunder from Quill and Quire recently reviewed The Beautiful West & the Beloved of God by Michael Springate. Springate’s novel focuses on the relationship between Elena and Mahfouz, who meet in Montreal during spring of 2008. Elena is a Manitoban raised by a devout Christian, whereas Mahfouz is an Egyptian migrant, whose parents accept Mahfouz’s relationship with this non-Muslim. After Mahfouz travels to Cairo on family business, he is arrested on suspicion of terrorist activity, as is his father in Montreal. Through these events, Elena and Mahfouz must separately come to terms with their historical situation, preparing for a future shaped by forces they struggle to understand. In Maunder’s review, she points out Springate’s skill in developing the relationship between Elena and Mahfouz, calling it “a gentle, even beautiful story of slow-ripening love and understanding, as two lost souls begin to put down roots together despite their differences”. Maunder also acknowledges the “extraordinary daring and intelligence” that is required for writing a novel like Springate’s, that approaches “the fraught relations between the West and the Middle East”. Springate manages to approach the central story with “genuine insight”, and “deftly humanizes the headlines” that his story draws from.

After extensive work in contemporary performance, Michael Springate’s interests have crystallized into The Beautiful West & The Beloved of God, a first novel that maps currents of world history as they course through Montreal in the first decade of the 21st century. Born in Montreal and currently a resident of Vancouver, his produced writing for theatre includes Historical Bliss, Dog and Crow, The Consolation of Philosophy, The Geese Sonnets, Freeport Texas, and Kut: Shock and Awe. He is currently a dramaturge and 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 more about The Beautiful West & The Beloved of God, visit the Guernica website at:

To read more about Michael Springate, visit the Guernica website at:

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