Moon Of The Crusted Snow is a dystopian novel set in a Canadian First Nations community, and it was my choice for the Canadian novel on my tour around the world.
Canada (or the world, this is not completely clear) has been struck by an unknown catastrophe, which has led to mayhem in cities. The Anishinaabe community living on a reservation in the far North, where they had been resettled to from their homeland further South, at first doesn’t get to know much about this catastrophe, except for difficulties in deliveries and power. Soon, the first interlopers enter the community, a group of white people from the city. Even though they are welcomed into the Anishinaabe community, a feud crystallizes between Evan, a young member of the Anishinaabe and Scott, one of the white refugees from the city.
“White man always saves the day!” He erupted in boisterous laughter, keeping his eyes trained on the three Anishinaabe men in front of him.
Rice, Waubgeshig; Moon Of The Crusted Snow; p. 162.
While not a great literary work in style or content, I loved the way Rice was able to make the northern First Nations community come alive, and it is a perfect book for some hours of well-done entertainment. The way the dystopian event was dealt with reminded me of If Darkness Takes Us, which I read last year. Both books take place in a relatively restricted community and the reader does not get to know much about what is happening in the rest of the country/the world. Of course, this adds a layer of simplicity, but it also adds to the feeling of isolation and desperation these books convey.
He had stopped counting the days and weeks long ago. There was no point anymore knowing if it was Tuesday the twenty-first of whatever. All that mattered was getting through each season and preparing for the next.
Rice, Waubgeshig; Moon Of The Crusted Snow; p. 123.
There is some allusion to this end-of-the-world scenario not being the first apocalypse for the Anishinaabe community, as outlined by Aileen, one of the tribe’s elders:
Our world isnt’t ending. It already ended. It ended when the Zhaagnaash came into our original home down south on that bay and took it from us. That was our world. When the Zhaagnaash cut down all the trees and fished all the fish and forced us out of there, that’s when our world ended.
Rice, Waubgeshig; Moon Of The Crusted Snow; p. 121.
The dramatic turn of the book comes when the community is slowly running out of food, and corpses are piling up in the morgue. No spoilers 🙂
Title: Moon Of The Crusted Snow Author: Waubgeshig Rice First published: 2018