Moon of the Turning Leaves by Waubgeshig Rice

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304 pages
Manuscript nowavailable


US: William Morrow (Winter 2024)
Canada: Random House (October 2023)


Waubgeshig Rice (Photo: Shilo Adamson)
(Photo: Shilo Adamson)

Waubgeshig Rice is an author and journalist originally from Wasauksing First Nation. His first short story collection, Midnight Sweatlodge, was inspired by his experiences growing up in an Anishinaabe community, and won an Independent Publishers Book Award in 2012. His debut novel, Legacy, followed in 2014 and was published in French in 2017. His latest novel, Moon of the Crusted Snow, was released in October 2018.
Waub got his first taste of journalism in 1996 as an exchange student in Germany, writing articles about being an Anishinaabe teen in a foreign country for newspapers back in Canada. He graduated from Ryerson University’s journalism program in 2002. He's worked in a variety of news media since, reporting for CBC News for the bulk of his career. In 2014, he received the Anishinabek Nation's Debwewin Citation for excellence in First Nation Storytelling. He is best known as the host of Up North, CBC Radio's afternoon show for northern Ontario.

Moon of the Crusted Snow

Moon of the Turning Leaves

a novel by Waubgeshig Rice



Moon of the Turning Leaves Canadian edition

Twelve years have passed since a widespread blackout triggered the rapid collapse of society, when the constants of the old world—cell service, landlines, satellite and internet—disappeared. Twelve long years since the steady supply of food and fuel from the south became a thing of the past.

The sudden end of the world as everybody knew it, and the horrors of that first winter since everything became dark, only steeled the resolve of Evan Whitesky and the other members of the Anishinaabe community to survive on their own terms. Because the world wasn't ending, as the community elders reminded them. It had already ended with the original displacement of their people to the far north by colonial authorities. They have seen this “apocalypse” before. They’ve seen it—lived it—over and over. But they had always survived. And they will survive this too.

Now, years after the power went out, the community has reconnected with its Anishinaabe customs based on living on the land. Empowered and stronger than ever, Evan, his teenage daughter Nangohns, and a small team of resourceful community members have resolved to venture south on a four-month-long exploratory mission to their ancestral homelands on Georgian Bay and to discover the cause of the mysterious catastrophe that had plunged the world into darkness.

On their journey they will encounter settlements born from the ashes of what was once Canadian civilization—some ruled by order and others by chaos, vigilantes, and terrible violence. But whatever the challenges Evan, Nangohns, and their colleagues face, hope continues to drive them forward, leading them ultimately to an astounding discovery at destination’s end.



“The novel’s most significant achievement may be its mood. From mundane beginnings, the book increases its tension continuously across its 200 pages. It’s a cliché, but this book is hard to put down. Written with such guilelessness that it’s easy to read, and with such strong linearity and so little waste that it’s extremely absorbing, Moon of the Crusted Snow is a humble but welcome addition to apocalyptic literature.”— LOCUS

“This slow-burning thriller is also a powerful story of survival and will leave readers breathless.”— PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

Moon of the Crusted Snow asks how do we live in a good way during the collapse of the infrastructure that supports modern life? For Evan Whitesky, the answer lies in rekindling Ojibwe, the old ways, language and culture. For other characters, when the food runs out, all options are on the table, no matter how gruesome. As the tensions between those surviving the end of modern civilization build to a harrowing conclusion, Rice deftly weaves tender family moments with his brutal survival scenes in the unforgiving northern Ontario winter. Chilling in the best way possible.”— EDEN ROBINSON, author of Son of a Trickster

“The rising literary star has created an unsettling story about a snowbound northern Anishinaabe community, where a postapocalyptic reality—no power, dwindling food, chaos—slowly creeps its way through the band. A young man, Evan Whitesky, seeks to restore hope and order to his community by turning to the land—to Anishinaabe tradition. A stellar Indigenous thriller.”

“The creeping tension and vividly drawn landscapes make Waubgeshig Rice’s characters’ choices all the more real.”— TORONTO STAR

“A warning shot fired for all who read this: what would you do if everything suddenly turned off? How long would you and your family and your community last? Terrifying, riveting, outstanding. This. Could. Happen. Waubgeshig Rice, you just scared the hell out of me with this book. Bravo, Sir! I am in awe of you and I am haunted by the tension you've unleashed here. Stock up: winter and strangers who are starving are on their way. Unforgettable. I loved it.”
— RICHARD VAN CAMP, author of The Lesser Blessed

“Akin to Cherie Dimaline's The Marrow Thieves or Cormac McCarthy's The Road, this book speculates a catastrophic, changing world while telling a riveting story that is as potent as anything in modern fiction. Rice gives us fully lived in, authentic characters that demand our attention and empathy. Because of that, there is hope in this long and bleak winter, and a surging power at the heart of this book that cannot be smothered.”— KEVIN HARDCASTLE, author of In the Cage

“Rice seamlessly injects Anishinaabe language into the dialogue and creates a beautiful rendering of the natural world… This title will appeal to fans of literary science fiction akin to Cormac McCarthy as well as to readers looking for a fresh voice in indigenous fiction.”— BOOKLIST



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