One-Minute Book Review
Eerie, sparse, and isolated, with a constant undertone of mounting unease and vulnerability.
Straight-forward and simple. Poetic, but restrained descriptions of nature and daily life. Laced with important cultural and political messages, but not preachy.
Far northeastern Canada in a First Nations community. The location is unspecified except for reference to the lands settled by the Anishinaabe after they were removed from their ancestral home.
Evan Whitesky: Young, hard-working and practical, and a dedicated family man passionate about rediscovering and sharing his heritage with his children. Very likeable.
Nicole Whitesky: His wife. Strong woman. A good wife and mother. Level-headed.
The story is populated by an interesting cross-section of tribal society–a respected elder, Evan’s troubled brother, white interlopers who are both friend and foe, and those both accustomed to modern life and those who embrace tradition.
Plot & Pacing
Slow and methodical, which matches the pace of a post-apocalyptic world growing more attuned to the rhythms of a simpler life. Never dull. The book opens with an unexplained power outage, which very quickly escalates into an emergency that tribal leaders struggle to deal with. This contained conflict then expands, to include the outside world and a greater understanding of what life will now become. Very realistic and thus, terrifying.
Written by a First Nations author, this book is about so much more than the apocalypse. It’s about the difficult history modern day Native and white peoples share. The struggles of Native people up to this day, because of their tragic history and what was taken from them. But it’s also a story about their resilience.
Brilliant and important read. Wonderfully balances the best of genre fiction with an exploration of human nature and human history.