“Stark and spare as a Hemingway story, but with deeply insightful portraiture. Rice avoids the popular clichés of dystopian fiction; in a world where infrastructure fails and communication ceases, there is violence, but without glamor; there is suffering, but without voyeurism. Instead, Rice tells a story about a community, already battered by displacement, facing a new threat they can't quite identify, but feel strongly. More than that I can't tell you without spoiling the exquisite foreshadowing that distinguishes this immersive and astonishing book.”
— Nialle• The Haunted Bookshop
“What happens during an apocalypse when you barely notice that the apocalypse has happened? The Anishinaabe tribe are outside of mainstream society and their people were decimated centuries ago. When they begin to lose services (electric, cell, internet) it’s more par for the course instead of 'oh no, the world is ending'. The community is used to being just that, a community, but it’s when unwanted outsider(s) come in, is when real problems begin. In other words, an allegory for our times.
— Audrey• Belmont Books
“This is perhaps the best dystopian novel I have read, because it is inspired by real events, and the ways things develop in the book also seem very plausible. There is a blackout in a northern Anishinaabe community, and they don't know how far it has spread, or what has caused it. As readers, we know as much as the characters in the book, and we see as the community works together, making sure they have enough to eat across the winter months. But the true narrative of this story - and the troubles that make it a thriller/horror novel - starts when outsiders find the community and, with nowhere else to go, ask to be taken in. It starts as an amazing tale about the end of the world, but ends up being a great reflection on white-saviourism.
A must-read, especially now that its sequel Moon Of The Turning Leaves is just about to come out.”
— Carina• Bosch&deJong boekverkopers
“Highly recommend this audiobook of Moon Of The Crusted Snow. Narrator Billy Merasty brings Rice's characters to life and enriches the traditional Anishinaabe stories with his lyrical storytelling voice. The story itself, of a Canadian Anishinaabe band forced to contend with a new reality when the power goes out and deliveries halt to their Reserve just as winter sets in, is gripping and shockingly realistic and a damning take on reservation life. Evan Whitesky—father, husband, and one of the young leaders—has been learning traditional ways so he's better equipped to hunt and forage than other members of the band who've come to rely on video games and other modern trappings for survival and entertainment. Just as it becomes clear that the power outage is widespread and likely the result of some catastrophic event, a menacing stranger arrives, threatening the band's unity and possibly its very survival. Completely immersive.”
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.