Friday, January 18, 2019

Review: Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice

Moon of the Crusted Snow
by Waubgeshig Rice

Moon of the Crusted Snow is a beautiful trade paperback book that’s only about 200 pages long. If enjoying books as physical objects is important to you, this book is like a tasteful wine bottle design that you want to keep looking at as you drink it.

As for the story, this is about a young Anishinaabe man living in an Ontario reservation who helps lead his community through a crisis: electrical power, landlines, radio, and satellite all go dark as snow season begins. What sets it apart from many crisis survival stories is that this is a story about resilience rather than fragility. People do panic and scheme and become violent, but Rice explicitly taps into the strengths of a people who have made it through end-of-their-world situations before. The main character, Evan, is thoroughly modern but is also trying to incorporate traditional ways into his own thinking, ceremony, and the way he and his wife raise their children.

If there’s any flaw in this book it’s that it’s too male-centric. Evan’s wife is sometimes the point-of-view character and the most prominent and impactful elder is a woman, but the women don’t interact with each other significantly. Still, it’s beautifully written, moves along quickly as you’re eager to find out what happens next, yet has an excellent sense of when to pause for contemplation.
I would strongly recommend Moon of the Crusted Snow to any adults and teens who like survival stories, end-of-the-world stories, or contemporary realistic fiction from writers speaking about their own background (also known as #OwnVoices).

[ official Waubgeshig Rice web site ]

Recommended by Garren H.
Bennett Martin Public Library

Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

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