Friday’s Forgotten Books: Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice

Moon of the Crusted Snow introduces us to an Anishinaabe community in northern Ontario, where some of the Indigenous residents still hunt and fish and hold to the ways of their people. Others have lapsed into complacency, coddled by the creature comforts they’ve become accustomed to.

The first sign that anything is wrong is when the satellite is out. No TV for an evening. That doesn’t seem like a big deal, but then Evan Whitesky and his partner, Nicole, notice that the cell service is also out.

They are far to the north, and it wasn’t so long ago that they didn’t have good cell service at all, so it’s an inconvenience, but doesn’t quite push the panic button.

Then the power goes out.

Cut off from the rest of the world without answers, the community starts to get uneasy. Winter weather has arrived, and that raises concerns. How will they survive without electricity? The people look to their council for answers, but aren’t reassured.

And when news from the south reaches them, it isn’t good.

To say much more would venture towards spoiler territory. This is the kind of story that sneaks up on you. It’s a slow burn, with the tension increasing steadily towards the shocking climax. It’s a more human horror story, looking at the way that people’s fears and lack of knowledge and understanding can wreak havoc on a person and a community. Rice expertly infuses a sense of foreboding in each page as the story builds. This is post-apocalyptic Indigenous horror at its finest. Miigwech, Waubgeshig Rice. What better way to kick off the winter season than to curl up with Moon of the Crusted Snow? Just be thankful you have lights to read by.

Check out Chris La Tray’s interview with Moon of the Crusted Snow author, Waubgeshig Rice, here