A daring post-apocalyptic thriller 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 leadership 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.
|Gift||Paperback||213||ECW Press||Post Apocalyptic Thriller||October 2nd, 2018|
This book is a #buddyread with LaLa and Greg as part of #SciFiMonth
Many thanks to LaLa for gifting me a physical copy of the book. It shall be treasured on my shelf. It is beautiful!
I am quite sure this was my first indigenous author. Yep. And it didn’t disappoint. There are some of those elements we expect through knowing a little about First Nations, Native Americans and other indigenous people in America, Canada and globally… There were the scenes that take your breath away as you experience through beautifully written manner the ways and traditions of hunting, learning through storytelling… but, perhaps there wasn’t nearly enough.
If I would have read the book alone, I would have said that it’s a great story. It’s engaging and scary and so, so ominous. The first few chapters of the book were simply marvellous. The scene setting, the hunting of the moose, the offering, the snow and cold, the preparing for the winter ahead- it was an atmosphere I wanted to step into. A remote and simple yet difficult life, connected to nature.
It was when shit started to go sideways in the post-apocalyptic way that the questions started to pile up. Questions are only natural – why and what happened and how… The fact this was a buddy read, made me think along quite a bit more. LaLa and Greg noticed things and raised questions that I would have skimmed over myself. I’m more of a go with the flow, don’t ask too many questions type of reader, apparently! But once something is asked, it can’t be unasked and you’re left wondering, why, indeed?! And why didn’t I think of it myself? 😀 But yes, I do love buddy reading because you get to explore all these other angles and all these other sidestories that come from with interacting with others.
The characters were hit and miss with us, with me for sure, I think. Our main character Evan is truly an outstanding guy when it comes to tyring to keep the traditional ways alive. He has a good heart, he’s reasonable and he works hard. I think as far as his quiet strength throughout the book goes, it’s easy to take him for granted. I should have given him more credit, he deserved more acknowledgement from me, but I simply saw him as a man doing what he was supposed to do anyway. Ooooh, this sounds a bit sexist! But actually not, I feel the closer to natural life people live, the clearer are lines in between the roles women and men play in a community setting. Anyway…
In the story, we get the foreshadowing by dreams. And we get a granddad telling a story to his grandchildren. An educational story. I liked it. Truly did. I feel like the storytelling element could have definitely been used a lot more, even if to plant some nuggets of what fresh hell awaits the people. I adored the peppering of their language throughout the book… Foreign enough but easy enough to understand in context.
The social issue covering alcohol use and its darker consequences gets a mention and this is another one of those interesting talking points when buddy reading. An opportunity to explore the stereotypes, the factual basis of them and the fact that alcohol was only introduced in these communities with European contact.
There is a lot to unpack if you so please. Did it deliver a community in survival mode after a post-apocalyptic event? Yes, it did. Was there perhaps another surprise element that, to someone forgein to these cultures, wouldn’t recognize by subtle clues? Yes, there is. But if you know how to treasure hunt, then please, you can go to town with this and at the end of the book have a slight moment of sweet recognition.
But still, the story left us all with more questions than answers. A lot of why’s that I can’t pose here because they’d act as spoilers. That said, the fact remains, we’re dealing a post apocalyptical settings, from a First Nations community point of view and things get a lot worse before they start to get any bit better…
I think you should know, if you’re considering reading this book, that a sequel is in the works and is due to arrive in 2023. By my understanding the sequel will be set 10 years after the events that took place in Moon of the Crusted Snow.
I like that you mentioned the delineation between male and female roles when people are living nearer to a “natural” state. There was a post on Facebook by a science organization about an article where archeologists were surprised to find a woman’s skeleton with a large group of men, I think Nordic, where she was a participating member (outfitted with weapons) of either a hunting party or an army; I can’t remember which. Of course many radical Feminists were raging on the thread about the word “surprised” and calling the article sexist. When I tried to explain that humans living before modern times had to go with the natural path of living where women being pregnant, having babies, breastfeeding, and caring for small children was 24/7 until they were past child bearing years, so the word “surprised” wasn’t uncalled for… I got dogpiled and insulted in the comments, and told to “educate myself.” It’s a good thing I didn’t try to explain muscle composition and male hormones. 😏
I too thought the indigenous storytelling was wonderful and also the First Nations cultural elements, but for me there was too little of that and too much wobbly content. I guess when you get to be my age it feels like a waste of precious reading time to read books that needed more editing. 😛
I’m curious to see if the writing gets better in the sequel. 🤔
Another well put together, enjoyable to read review! You need to resume writing yourself. These reviews are proof of this. 😎
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Oh dear, that sexist thing.. of course you were attacked. I actually had lengthy conversations with a senior colleague over smoke breaks about where women and men fit within society and why, in terms of evolution, men are bigger and stronger and I mean, if you take the emotion out of it, a lot of it, the ‘closer to nature’ part really makes logical sense. I commend you for always speaking out, though, it’s really a form of raising awareness… thing is, 50 raging feminists may get blind angry at you, but if even one of them stops to even just think about it, I’d call it a win! 🙂
I agree though, there SO should have been more storytelling… now, if they wanted to bring VIBE, then storytelling is what they should have drowned the book in… because the traditional scenes in the book were amazing! Like, even the smudging at the start of the meeting… amazing!
I am curious about the squel, too. I’m actually looking forward to it just from a comparison point of view… There’s still quite a lot of opportunity… it could go both ways!
Awh, thank you so much! I did fix the typos eventually in the post as well 😀 I am a total emotion-writer… I just type as fast as my thoughts run and then hit publish… and then, then I do the damage control 😀
I think I took Evan a little bit for granted too. that’s an excellent point. We sort of assume he’s doing what he SHOULD be doing, but then plenty of people weren’t Exhibit A: Cam. And fabulous review! You hit on so many points so well. I enjoyed buddy reading this with you!
Wasn’t the atmosphere so spot on, too? Like I told you both early on… I FELT cold reading it! 🙂
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Yes! Cam! He was a total stereotype and we didn’t blink an eye about him, ha! Thank you so much for stopping by – it’s been a pleasure buddy reading with you too! I say, more in the future! More! 🙂
Total ‘yes’ for atmosphere… I was just recalling the smudging scene at the start of the community meeting and it was amazing. But the start of the book, with the moose and the snow – yeahhh, so well written, you would feel cold!
Da book does sound interesting. good review 🙂
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Thank you! 🙂