It’s early days still, but can you feel that hint of fall on its way? In my neck of woods, the sun dips below the mountains earlier in the evenings and there is a definite chill in the mornings. As much as I hate saying goodbye to summer, I can’t help but look forward to more time curling up inside with a good book.
So how was your summer? Hope it was filled with friends and family, good food, sunshine, and of course, great books.
With the hottest summer on record, it would’ve be awesome just to sit at a beach and read all day. Instead, my husband and I tackled a huge landscaping project at our new house and I was so busy watering all the time, I felt like I barely cracked a book.
Fortunately, some of the books I did crack were fantastic, starting with Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice.
Sweating under the heat dome that was summer 2021, there was something surreal about reading about the darkness of winter and the bleakness of the frozen tundra. Rice is an Anishinaabe author who has created a dystopian world frightening in its reality.
A northern Anishinaabe community suddenly loses their connection to the south – phones, internet, TV, power – and begins to suspect they are on their own. Cut off, people become passive and confused. Some who have been living the traditional way, hunting and trapping, continue to prepare for the looming winter, while others who have become reliant on modern technology and conveniences, begin to panic. As food and wood supplies dwindle, the tribal council dole out their cache of food.
When an unexpected visitor arrives from the south, the community leadership loses its grip on power and societal order begins to crumble.
Tender family moments are woven with brutal survival scenes. The effects of colonialism and the impacts of dependency are written with brilliant honesty.
Moon of the Crusted Snow blends action and allegory and everything I expected was turned upside down. Without giving too much away, we see that out of catastrophe comes resilience, as one society collapses, another is reborn.
It’s a cliché, but this book was hard to put down. It is tightly written with a strong linear story line and characters developed only to support the narrative. There is an economy of language with nothing included that isn’t necessary. It’s impossible not to get caught up in the mood of the book and the increasing tension. Ultimately, it’s a story about survival – a familiar narrative told in an unfamiliar location.
If you get a chance, this book is highly recommended.
So, what did you read this summer? Am super excited to hear some of your favourites, what you loved and what you didn’t. Did any new writers come along? Did you discover any you never expected to love? Drop me a line if you want to share.
I wish we didn’t need to still say this, but… stay safe my friends. Mask up, and for God’s sake, get vaccinated. Twice.
In the meantime, happy reading.