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 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.
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.
Published: October 2018
Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 in.
“This slow-burning thriller is also a powerful story of survival and will leave readers breathless.” — Publishers Weekly
“The creeping tension and vividly drawn landscapes make Waubgeshig Rice’s characters’ choices all the more real.” — Toronto Star
“Rice complicates and demands a rethinking of the apocalyptic category itself, which is the book’s greatest revelation and strength . . . Rice’s writing is measured and he has a lovely ear for the cadence of conversation — humour, rage, and introspection all coming through the dialogue . . . Rice’s story teaches, but it’s not didactic; it’s original, and somehow takes the frenetic pace of a crisis, slows it down, and shows us its parts.” — Canadian Notes & Queries
“All the ingredients that went into this novel are that much more fresh, and make the narrative so rich, because of the way Rice has succeeded in putting them all together.” — CBC Books
“In addition to being a new spin on the tech-pocalypse, it's also an eerie, slightly fabulist novel . . . If you want a thoughtful, uncanny, snow-bound read that will have you battening your hatches for winter and rethinking what apocalypse means, pick this one up ASAP.” — Book Riot’s Swords & Spaceships
“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
“Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice is a brilliant read and a unique one. It has an in-depth narrative but also shows a pride in the ways of a culture that is complex and unique. In short, it is a great addition to the 2018 fall collection of new books.” — The Library of Pacific Tranquility blog
“I thought Waubgeshig Rice did a great job showing how panic slowly made its way into the heads of the community leaders as well as townsfolk. . . With Moon of the Crusted Snow, Waubgeshig Rice has written a novel laced with anxiety.” — Every Read Thing blog
“Waubgeshig Rice is the CBC host of Up North. He is also a damn fine writer whose Moon of the Crusted Snow set my nerves on end. Which few books do . . . His novel is the latest (and greatest) apocalyptic work I have read.” — Owen Sun Sound Times
“With winter approaching, it’s the perfect book to read and reflect on our own lifestyles and points of view.” — Winnipeg Free Press
“Rice’s third fiction release has received rave reviews and is a gripping and deeply meaningful read.” — Chatelaine Books of the Year
“This is definitely an incredible story with so many layers behind each sentence that I truly hope people pick it up and learn something from it. I look forward to the movie deal that Rice should definitely be offered for this novel.” — Lucien in the Stars blog
“Moon of the Crusted Snow is a breathtaking, quiet thriller that shouldn’t be missed.” — Seattle Book Review
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
“Moon of the Crusted Snow sets itself apart — an apocalypse novel in reverse.” — Globe and Mail
“Perfect for those who read Iain Reid’s Foe this summer and are looking for something in the same vein.” — The Globe and Mail
“This is my go-to pick for the year . . . it’s such a great book . . . it's really got this great balance that makes it a go-to gift this season . . . really good, amazing storytelling.” — Jael Richardson on CBC q
“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
“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 gets straight to the point with minimal fluff but still adds enough detail so you feel like you’re a part of the roller coaster nosediving into hell. . . I give this novel 4 out of 5 stars and would absolutely recommend you add it to your TBR’s when it comes out October 2nd, 2018.” — Starlight Books Blog
“I found this book quietly gripping. It’s not action-packed, but the fate of the community is in peril and the thought process of many of the characters is compelling. . . I didn’t want this story to end.” — Consumed by Ink blog
“Moon of the Crusted Snow is an uncommon dystopia, both wistful and tough, in which there’s nothing all that new about the end of everything.” — Foreword Reviews
“Journalist and award-winning author Waubgeshig Rice has crafted a harrowing tale of struggling, despair, and the fragile seeds of hope. Highly recommended!” — Midwest Book Review
“The novel itself is a kind of dream, an aesthetic arrangement of what the world might be. In its circuitous blend of past and future, the shackles of both modernity and colonialism are broken by some unseen force, leaving a chance to think about how healing might begin.” — Literary Review of Canada
“Moon of the Crusted Snow will fill you with a sense of foreboding as the story builds to a terrifying climax. Curl up in a blanket and hunker down with this wintry tale of suspense and survival.” — Richmond News