Skip to main content

Featured Post

Infinite Country by Patricia Engel | Thoughts

   Published : 2021   ||    Format : print   ||    Location : Colombia ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆   What was it about the country that kept everyone hostage to its fantasy? The previous month, on its own soil, an American man went to his job at a plant and gunned down fourteen coworkers, and last spring alone there were four different school shootings. A nation at war with itself, yet people still spoke of it as some kind of paradise.. Thoughts : Infinite Country follows two characters - young Talia, who at the beginning of this book, escapes a girl’s reform school in North Colombia so that she can make her previously booked flight to the US. Before she can do that, she needs to travel many miles to reach her father and get her ticket to the rest of her family. As we follow Talia’s treacherous journey south, we learn about how she ended up in the reform school in the first place and why half her family resides in the US. Infinite Country tells the story of her family through the other protagonist, El

Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice | Thoughts

Published in: 2018   ||   Format: ebook   ||   Location: Canada

One line review: When the world comes crashing, some people shutdown while others elevate their community. Which one will you be?

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆


Yes, apocalypse. We've had that over and over. But we always survived. We're still here. And we'll still be here, even if the power and the radios don't come back on and we never see any white people again.


Evan Whitesky returns home after a whole day of hunting to realize that his mobile phone had lost network sometime during the day. He doesn't think a lot about it then but over the next few days, his community loses electricity and their landline connection as well. To make matters worse, they are unable to contact anyone from the city to inquire when services can be restored. With the never-ending blizzard, it was not feasible for someone to simply drive to the nearest city and find out what's going on. Soon, they have to start conserving what little electric power they had thanks to their generator and food also needs to be rationed. 

In the middle of all this, two of their young community members return from college in fear, bearing news of absolute terror in the cities. Not long after that, visitors start showing up at their doorstep - claiming to be from the cities and looking for refuge. Except they don't always follow the community guidelines and seem to have ulterior motives.

Moon of the Crusted Snow was a harrowing take on what apocalypse could look like in a small Anishinaabe community - how different members of the community respond to the unknowns, the reality of the dwindling resources, and the visitors who come looking for help (do we help them and thus further divide the meager food among us or do we refuse to take them in?). As with any community, there is a wide variety of reactions, and different members step up while others only look out for themselves. 

I liked the intimate focus on many of the characters. Many of them stepped up in various ways while others shut down. While some started to turn towards the land and their traditions as a way to cope and get stronger, others didn't show the same amount of respect or interest in those ways. That said, the bad guys were mostly bad, and the good guys were mostly good. I would have liked a little more multi-dimensionality to their characters. Apocalypse, collapse, end of the times, call it whatever you wish but these are tragic times. Living through this pandemic has shown it. If grocery stores and supply chain had actually collapsed, would we be as thankful for the increased family time that the pandemic has provided? To be fair, this isn't something that bothered me during reading the book at all. It wasn't intended to be as much of a character study as it was about community study. But thinking back to the book days later, I felt that perspective missing.

I read this book right in the middle of the biggest snow storm that my area has seen this decade. It was white outside, dreary looking, and temperatures were dropping. So I didn't have any trouble trying to envision what could happen should society collapse around us. That only made my reading experience richer but you do not need to be in a snowstorm to read this book. In fact, I actually suggest you read this during a more optimistic time because this book is VERY atmospheric and reads very well. 

If I had any issue, it was that I thought this book could have gone through a tighter editing - there was too much repetition and also too much focus on the mundane. I did appreciate some of the mundaneness - it gave a kind of predictability, relief, and calm to the story and it didn't take away any of the fast pacing. But it could have been just as good without it as well. 

Are you ready to read apocalyptic fiction yet?