A daring post-apocalyptic novel from a powerful rising literary voice
With winter looming, a small northern Anishinaabe community goes dark. Cut off, people become passive and confused. Panic builds as the food supply dwindles. While the band council and a pocket of community members struggle to maintain order, an unexpected visitor arrives, escaping the crumbling society to the south. Soon after, others follow.
The community leadearship loses its grip on power as the visitors manipulate the tired and hungry to take control of the reserve. Tensions rise and, as the months pass, so does the death toll due to sickness and despair. Frustrated by the building chaos, a group of young friends and their families turn to the land and Anishinaabe tradition in hopes of helping their community thrive again. Guided through the chaos by an unlikely leader named Evan Whitesky, they endeavor to restore order while grappling with a grave decision.
Blending action and allegory, Moon of the Crusted Snow upends our expectations. Out of catastrophe comes resilience. And as one society collapses, another is reborn.
Waubgeshig Rice is an author and journalist originally from Wasauksing First Nation. His first short story collection, Midnight Sweatlodge, was inspired by his experiences growing up in an Anishinaabe community, and won an Independent Publishers Book Award in 2012. His debut novel, Legacy, followed in 2014. He currently works as a multi-platform journalist for CBC in Sudbury. In 2014, he received the Anishinabek Nation’s Debwewin Citation for excellence in First Nation Storytelling. Waubgeshig now splits his time between Sudbury and Wasauksing.
“We've been waiting for this story. It irresistibly turns our gaze toward something we already knew, but couldn't quite make ourselves see. The result is intense, thrilling and vivid as the darkest dreams—much like the old Anishinaabeg stories told by the Elders. As one revelation follows another, we come face to face with the mystery and responsibility of being human.” — Warren Cariou, Director, University of Manitoba Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture
“Moon of the Crusted Snow asks how do we live in a good way during the collapse of the infrastructure that supports modern life? For Evan Whitesky, the answer lies in rekindling Ojibwe, the old ways, language and culture. For other characters, when the food runs out, all options are on the table, no matter how gruesome. As the tensions between those surviving the end of modern civilization build to a harrowing conclusion, Rice deftly weaves tender family moments with his brutal survival scenes in the unforgiving northern Ontario winter. Chilling in the best way possible.” — Eden Robinson, award winning author of Monkey Beach and Son of a Trickster
“A warning shot fired for all who read this: what would you do if everything suddenly turned off? How long would you and your family and your community last? Terrifying, riveting, outstanding. This. Could. Happen. Waubgeshig Rice, you just scared the hell out of me with this book. Bravo, Sir! I am in awe of you and I am haunted by the tension you've unleashed here. Stock up: winter and strangers who are starving are on their way. Unforgettable. I loved it.” — Richard Van Camp, author of The Lesser Blessed and Godless but Loyal to Heaven
Rice seamlessly injects Anishinaabe language into the dialogue and creates a beautiful rendering of the natural world. . . This title will appeal to fans of literary science fiction akin to Cormac McCarthy as well as to readers looking for a fresh voice in indigenous fiction.” — Booklist
“Akin to Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves or Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, this book speculates a catastrophic, changing world while telling a riveting story that is as potent as anything in modern fiction. Rice gives us fully lived in, authentic characters that demand our attention and empathy. Because of that, there is hope in this long and bleak winter, and a surging power at the heart of this book that cannot be smothered.” — Kevin Hardcastle, author of In the Cage and Debris
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