Saturday 12 October 2019

Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice

I don't know why but dystopian stories have always appealed to me. My wife, Teena, just shakes her head when I tell her what I'm reading, same as she did when I told her the story line behind Moon of the Crusted Snow.

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.

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.

Most stories about apocalyptic times begin after an event, which has already occurred, seriously alters the fate of the world for the worst, with the story being of the characters who have survived. Not in this story.

One day the power goes out in this very northern community. Then cell phones don't work. Supplies from the south don't arrive. Nobody knows what has happened but after awhile the realize their situation will not return to what it was and they need to survive the winter which has already struck.

The book was a 2019 John W. Campbell Memorial Award nominee for Best Science Fiction Novel, an award which has been presented annually since 1973. An interesting story of the breakdown of what was a close community in devastating times. Moon of the Crusted Snow is a book which I thoroughly enjoyed. Easy to picture too with our own winter fast approaching. Ha!

About Waubgeshhig Rice

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. A French translation was published in 2017. His latest novel, Moon of the Crusted Snow, was released in October 2018. 

Waub got his first taste of journalism in 1996 as an exchange student in Germany, writing articles about being an Anishinaabe teen in a foreign country for newspapers back in Canada. He graduated from Ryerson University’s journalism program in 2002. He’s worked in a variety of news media since, reporting for CBC News for the bulk of his career. In 2014, he received the Anishinabek Nation’s Debwewin Citation for excellence in First Nation Storytelling. He currently hosts Up North, CBC Radio’s afternoon show for northern Ontario. 

His proudest roles are as dad to Jiikwis and husband to Sarah. The family splits its time between Sudbury and Wasauksing.

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