Moon of the Crusted Snow
A NoveleBook - 2018
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.
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Just as late fall is turning to brutal winter, Evan Whitesky's reserve in Northern Ontario begins losing utilities. First, cell phones and satellite service go down, then the power grid fails. While initially unnerving, the community mostly laughs it off; service to the reserve has never been good, and they still have enough backup in food and fuel to make a go of it for a short while.
However, as they get their diesel generators in place and distribute food, it becomes clear something has gone very wrong down south. No one has heard anything from Toronto or any nearby urban centres; and two students return, haunted, from a nearer college to confirm that help is definitely not on its way. Eerily, the students are followed by a very large white man, Justin Scott, who promises he can help the community survive even as he begs assistance from the reserve. They grudgingly give him a place to stay.
As the winter wears on and supplies wear thin, Scott's influence over some in the community grows, along with a general sense of menace. Evan and other community leaders try their best to prevent death and desecration. But, dwindling resources and Scott's manipulation spiral together, and crisis hits just as winter runs deepest, throwing the community's survival into question.
Fast-paced, unsettling in every sense of the word, and grounded in Anishinaabe cultural traditions, *Moon of the Crusted Snow* is highly recommended to any fans of gritty, post-apocalyptic fiction.
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