Kevin Hardcastle's favourite Canadian book of 2018: Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice
As the year draws to a close, CBC Books is asking Canadian writers for their favourite titles of 2018. Kevin Hardcastle is the author of the novel In the Cage and was a juror for the 2018 CBC Short Story Prize.
"My book of the year is Waubgeshig Rice's Moon of the Crusted Snow, a novel that shows the influence of other speculative fiction, like Cormac McCarthy's The Road, but — like another superb book of speculative fiction by Cherie Dimaline, The Marrow Thieves — brings a level of humanity to this type of story simply by the care taken to write the setting and the characters within.
"Unlike other post-apocalyptic books set in cities or those following tired old tropes, the rural Indigenous characters in MOTS, like Evan Whitesky and his family, are people who have already lived through their own apocalypses, through colonialism and displacement and the uprooting of their culture. They are on their reserve land, trying to keep building community in spite of past trauma, and with great hope for the future. And, crucially, they are equipped with cultural and social knowledge that allow them to meet this new cataclysm with strength and cunning.
"Rural families are not just pawns or tokens in Rice's novel. Rather, they are fully realized characters with flaws and fears and humanity enough to keep a light on in the dark. The natural world is an active element here, not just a backdrop. And the melding of local, rural knowledge and history with some of the thematic elements of the novel really anchor the work. All the ingredients that went into this novel are that much more fresh, and make the narrative so rich, because of the way Rice has succeeded in putting them all together."
- Why Waubgeshig Rice wrote a dystopian novel about the collapse of society from an Indigenous perspective