A Doubled Apocalypse

A remote community, the end of modernity, and an unnerving, ‘intensely claustrophobic’ novel

A sudden, sharp crack opens Waubgeshig Rice’s Moon of the Crusted Snow. It is the sound of protagonist Evan’s gun, echoing through an otherwise silent Canadian North as a moose is felled. As Evan approaches the bull, he awkwardly performs the Anishinaabe ritual of thanks, dropping tobacco in front of the carcass, an unfamiliar yet comforting process.

But the shattering of the silence is also the figurative sound of some unseen rupture to the south, a calamity that leaves phones and power lines dead, and replaces the general clamour of life with an eerie, chilling silence. The stage for the novel is set. The infrastructure of contemporary life falls away, and Evan and the small community in which he lives are forced to fend for themselves, often by returning to practices many around him have lost.

The novel is thus a refracted series of ruptures: not just the mysterious event that pushes the world into an apocalypse...