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Moon of the Crusted Snow
Cover of Moon of the Crusted Snow
Moon of the Crusted Snow
A Novel
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National Bestseller Winner of the 2019 OLA Forest of Reading Evergreen Award Shortlisted for the 2019 John W. Campbell Memorial Award Shortlisted for the 2019/20 First Nation Communities READ...
National Bestseller Winner of the 2019 OLA Forest of Reading Evergreen Award Shortlisted for the 2019 John W. Campbell Memorial Award Shortlisted for the 2019/20 First Nation Communities READ...
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  • National Bestseller

    Winner of the 2019 OLA Forest of Reading Evergreen Award

    Shortlisted for the 2019 John W. Campbell Memorial Award

    Shortlisted for the 2019/20 First Nation Communities READ Indigenous Literature Award

    2020 Burlington Library Selection; 2020 Hamilton Reads One Book One Community Selection; 2020 Region of Waterloo One Book One Community Selection; 2019 Ontario Library Association Ontario Together We Read Program Selection; 2019 Women’s National Book Association’s Great Group Reads; 2019 Amnesty International Book Club Pick

    January 2020 Reddit r/bookclub pick of the month

    “This slow-burning thriller is also a powerful story of survival and will leave readers breathless.” — Publishers Weekly

    “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

    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.

Excerpts-

  • From the cover Five

    Three hard knocks woke Nicole and Evan. She groaned, and he turned over as three more thuds vibrated through the house. “What the hell is that?” she mumbled.

    Evan groaned. “I’ll go check.”

    He got out of bed in his T-shirt and boxer shorts in the grey predawn light.

    At the door, he recognized the familiar silhouette of Isaiah, who smiled mischievously at Evan’s sleep-rumpled state and walked in.

    “I woulda said whatever happened to calling,” Evan grumbled, “but I remembered the phones are out.”

    “Yeah, all moccasin telegraph all the time these days,” Isaiah replied. Evan was already tired of this joke. Izzy fell into the armchair beside the door without taking off his heavy red parka, grey toque, or boots.

    “What’s going on?”

    “Terry wants everyone in public works over at the band office right away. He pounded at my door just about fifteen minutes ago. My job was to round you up.”

    “It’s Saturday, damn it!”

    “Yeah, well, he says it’s an emergency. He’s talking about firing up the generator. No one knows what’s going on with the hydro.”

    The chief calling an emergency meeting on a Saturday morning was serious. Evan snapped awake. “Alright, lemme go get dressed,” he said. “What’s it like outside?”

    “Gettin’ colder.”

    “Shit.”

    Evan quickly returned to the bedroom, where Nicole lay awake in the warm, uneasy darkness. “What’s Izzy want?”

    “Gotta go to work,” he replied, as he picked up the jeans from the floor and pulled them on.

    “What’s going on?”

    “Not totally sure, but Izzy says Terry wants everyone in public works over at the shop. Guess he wants to turn the generator on.”

    “That’s good. The food in the fridge might start to go bad without the power.”

    “Yeah, and it’d be good to put the kids in front of a movie for a break,” he said with a laugh.

    He leaned in to kiss his partner and walked back to the front door, where his outside clothes hung on the hook.

    Once he was dressed, Evan and Isaiah stepped outside into the cold. A faint pink glow in the east hinted at the sunrise. I guess it’s not that early, Evan thought.

    They climbed into Isaiah’s idling truck, and Evan appreciated the warmth of the cab. Isaiah turned up the country music on his truck’s stereo and backed out onto the road.

    “First you wake me up to work on a Saturday, then you make me listen to this shit?” Evan said.

    “Shut the hell up,” his friend shot back. “This music is about real pain and struggle. It’s our people’s music.”

    Evan rolled his eyes and looked out the window, willing to let the music be a distraction from his worries. He loved his friend like a brother. They’d been through almost everything together — hunts, hardships, and heartaches — but he couldn’t stand Isaiah’s taste in music.

    Each house the truck passed was dark. There wouldn’t be much activity in these homes this early on a Saturday anyway, but every unlit window was hard to ignore.

    As the late fall sun began to peek over the horizon, its low angle cast tiny shadows behind the bigger chunks of gravel spread across the route. The shallow streams in the deep ditches on either side were frozen solid.

    The truck rolled through the village to the outskirts on the other side of town. Black spruce trees closed in around them as they approached the generating station by the shop. The reverberating echo of a slide guitar faded slowly as Isaiah lined his truck up with the six other pickup trucks in front of the high brick building. He smiled as he parked, no doubt amused that...

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 24, 2018
    Fall is just about to turn into winter when cell service goes out in a Anishinaabe community in Rice’s chilling post-apocalyptic novel (following Legacy). The novel centers on Evan Whitesky, a young father to two children living on a reservation in northern Canada who is attempting to relearn and maintain the traditional ways in a world where society has collapsed and electricity, cell phones, land lines, and satellites have all disappeared. In the absence of all the things that make the long, harsh winters of northern Canada easier, the community has to band together to ensure its survival, doling out canned provisions and trying to ensure running water and heat for everyone for as long as possible. When a man arrives seeking refuge from the chaos in the south, Evan and his community allow him to stay in spite of their misgivings. As the winter progresses and hunger sets in, hostility rises and small-town power struggles become a life-or-death affair. This slow-burning thriller is also a powerful story of survival and will leave readers breathless.

  • Booklist

    August 1, 2018
    Power outages are a normal occurrence on the reservation of an Anishinaabe community in northern Ontario, but an unusually extended lack of outside communications or food deliveries causes fear and panic among the residents. Evan Whitesky, a young husband and father, helps fortify the town for the looming winter by looking to the old ways of their tribe: hunting, communal support, and offerings to the spirits. Rice's sophomore effort (after Legacy, 2014) is an atmospheric drama that includes some standard apocalyptic tropes?like the loss of contact and the threat of outsiders?but it's the cohesion of community among this indigenous culture and the positive influences of family and tradition that shine in the story. Rice seamlessly injects Anishinaabe ?language into the dialogue and creates a beautiful rendering of the natural world. Although more deliberate than most end-of-the-world thrillers, the story builds in tension and violence as the days get colder and the supplies dwindle. 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.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2018, American Library Association.)

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A Novel
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