The Official Description: With winter looming, a small northern Anishinaabe community loses communication. Days later, it goes dark. Cut off from the urban realm of the south, many of its people become passive and confused. They eventually descend into panic as the food supply dwindles, with few hunters left in the First Nation. While the band council and a pocket of community members struggle to maintain order, an unexpected visitor arrives from a city in the south to escape a crumbling society. Soon after, others follow. The community leadership is faced with the dilemma of allowing the urban refugees to live with them on their territory. 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 tradition in hopes of helping their community thrive again, while they grapple with a grave decision.
Narrator of Audiobook: Billy Merasty
Just the facts: Audiobook, Dystopian, Post-apocalyptic, science fiction
My thoughts bit:
This is a story about what happens when the world… fails. Evan and his family and friends are living in a small northern Anishinaabe town when things begin to change. At first, the satellite TV stops working, then the phones stop, then the power. The band council tries to keep the residents calm but things slowly creep towards fear and paranoia.
There is no clear reveal about what happened in the world to make such huge changes come about. I read a lot of science fiction so I think there’s a part of me that would have preferred to hear what caused all the modern conveniences to disappear. That being said, this story is really more about what happens to people when things change.
The author and the narrator both manage to convey a sense of creeping towards distrust and potential violence. At first, people are more than willing to assume that things will return to normal. But as lives get lost and there’s no sign that things are returning to normal, people begin to crumble.
When the first interlopers arrive from the city, the community welcomes them even if it’s nervously. But, new people have a way of changing the dynamics. With time, the original residents are influenced by the interlopers and begin to question the leadership.
Billy Merasty’s great narration definitely adds to the atmosphere of this novel. I grew up in northern Alberta and Merasty’s speech cadence and intonation were perfect for a book about a First Nation Community. I actually raised my review by one star because I so thoroughly enjoyed Merasty’s narration. I’m a firm believer that the narrator can make or break an audiobook.
I really enjoyed the Ojibway language that was scattered throughout the novel. It sounded beautiful and I appreciated Rice’s faith in his readers to learn and interpret as they went along. Merasty’s pronunciation and the lovely sound of the language really enabled me to immerse myself in the culture.
I found the story to be a bit slow-moving. I think that Rice poses some great questions about what might happen if there was some type of apocalyptic event. I wasn’t very satisfied with the way the changes were left almost completely unexplained…but then I suppose that’s not what the book is about. This book is about change, traditional values, and survival.
Things You May Want To Know: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS) gun violence, many descriptions of dead bodies, description of people who committed suicide, descriptions of people who froze to death.
I received an ARC of Moon of the Crusted Snow on Audiobook by Waubgeshig Rice from ECW Press in exchange for an unbiased review.