Elena and Mahfouz meet in the spring of 2008 in Montreal. But that summer Mahfouz doesn’t return from a trip to 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.

About the Author

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 coursed 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 dramaturg 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.


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.

Charles R. Larson, Emeritus Professor of Literature at American University, in Counterpunch

Springate’s skills as a playwright and artistic director are reflected as the book moves in a brevity of style that cuts through to the reader’s heart, and peels away layers of comfort...

Nilambri Ghai, poet and writer, in Montreal Serai

Moments of carefully crafted insight accumulate one by one until the reader is completely bound to the characters and the story ... A thoughtful, balanced, and moving story.

Timothy Niedermann, Author of A Pure Evil and The Words that Created God, in The Ottawa Review of Books

The best and bravest book I’ve read in years. The Beautiful West & The Beloved of God is on par with the moral voices of Dostoyevsky and Solzhenitsyn.

Charles Orloski, Writer and Cultural Critic

This is an exceptional novel, set in Montreal and Egypt, that brings out the frightening turns in the tribal wars being played out all over the world. The author’s historical awareness amply supports a deeply personal and local story, giving it a global resonance.

Rana Bose, Author of The Fourth Canvas and Recovering Rude

I love the patient rhythm which creates in meticulous dialogue a mosaic of three Montreal families, their roots elsewhere. With reverberations in history, politics and philosophy, this is a humane, civil, and eminently Canadian world, yet the intensity and inevitability of the ending are overwhelming.

Leanore Lieblein, Editor and Translator, Professor of
English and Theatre Studies (retired), McGill University

Media Coverage

The novel has been nominated for a BC Book Prize! The Beautiful West and the Beloved of God is among the finalists for the 2015 Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize.
November 3, 2014 on CIUT Radio: Ken Stone reviews the novel on the Taylor Report.

A ten-minute discussion around the release of the novel. Listen online or download directly.

"Ken Stone of the Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War discusses the new book by Michael Springate, The Beautiful West and the Beloved of God. The book takes place in 2008 in the wake of Bush's "war against terror," and brings together three varied characters — family of Arab Muslim immigrant, well-to-do Jewish couple, female atheist protagonist.

The themes of the book are Islamophobia and Canadian security certificates, where non-citizens are arrested and jailed without any disclosure/evidence."
November 5, 2014 on CFMU Radio: Michael Springate interviewed on Unusual Sources.

A thirty-minute discussion centered on the novel. Listen online or download directly.

"We interview author Michael Springate about his new book combining the War on Terror, citizenship, and Muslim experience with Canada's security state."
November 12, 2014 on CIUT Radio: Michael Springate interviewed on Power Drive.

A 60-minute discussion centred on the development of Michael's career. Listen online or download.

"My 23rd CIUT PowerDrive show ~ broadcast live from U of T's Map Room Studio, Hart House @ 9am on 12/11/2014 ~ features writer, producer, director and teacher: Michael Springate."

Readings & Appearances

Sunday November 2, 2014 — 4:00pm The Supermarket
268 Augusta Avenue, Toronto
Monday November 3, 2014 — 7:00pm Another Story Bookstore
315 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto
Thursday November 6, 2014 — 7:00pm Beit Zatoun
612 Markham Street, Toronto
Saturday November 8, 2014 — 3:00pm Homegrown Hamilton
27 King William Street, Hamilton
Thursday November 13, 2014 — 7:00pm Drawn and Quarterly
211 Bernard Ouest, Montreal
Sunday November 30, 2014 — 4:00pm Spartacus Books
3378 Findlay Street, Vancouver
Friday December 5, 2014 — 7:00pm People's Co-op Bookstore
1391 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
Thursday December 11, 2014 — 7:00pm Anza Club
3 West 8th Avenue, Vancouver
Followed by a new documentary film
by Alejandro Calzadilla, La Joropera

If you are interested in organizing a reading event in your city, please contact us at info@thebeautifulwest.ca.

You can follow us on Facebook for announcements of new readings.

Where to Order the Book

The book is available at the major online sites — including Amazon and Indigo — as well as many others, including the publisher's own site.

Or take the time to connect with your favourite independent bookstore, either online or in person!

Contact Us

You can email us at info@thebeautifulwest.ca, or leave a comment on our Facebook page.