Saturday 10 August 2019

Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice

                Evan Whitesky is a twenty-five year old First Nations man living on an isolated Ontario reserve with his wife and two kids.  The novel begins with him returning home after killing a moose to augment their winter supply of meat.  There he is told by his wife that both their satellite TV, internet, and cell phone reception have disappeared.  Use to unsteady reception, they are not too concerned, they still have power from the recent huge hydro dam project that had brought power to the reserve for a few years.
       They and the other tribe members, become much more concerned a week later, when their power and telephone land lines fail, just as winter begins to hit.  There is no communication with the outside world and they don’t understand what has caused of these failures.  Panic begins to spread through the reserve causing a run on the only grocery store, emptying its shelves. 
        Two young males from the reserve, who had been away attending a trade school in a town three hundred miles away, then arrived on snowmobiles they had stolen full, both are full of emotion.  They tell of hellish chaos and mob rule in the town where they had been, due to the lack of electricity and food supplies after some unknown disaster befell on Toronto.  They had made the desperate journey to return to their homes. 
        While conditions continue to slowly worsen on the reserve, a white man on a big snowmobile towing gear, who followed the snowmobile tracks of the two reserve boys, unexpectedly arrives. He is a tough guy survivalist, whose friendly exterior doesn’t quite mask his real personality.  He is recognized as trouble, but pledges his survival skills to the community, who allow him to stay.  
        As winter’s bite hardens, the community faces increasing problems, accentuated by the presence of the survivalist.
       Apocalyptic novels are always thought provoking and I found this one particularly so, because of the fact that the First Nation people on the reserve never did know what had happened in the outside world and they still maintained a lot of the skills needed to survive in the wild that surrounded them. 

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