Genre: Adult Horror
Year Release: 2018
Source: Library Kindle
Content warning: suicide, hunting, genocide (referenced), gun violence, murder, cannibalisms (implied)
At the onset of winter, communications go down at a small northern Anishinaabe community. Turns out it isn’t run-of-the-mill power outage, but a sign of society collapsing in the urban south. What then ensues is survival prep for an uncertain winter, while reports suggest humanity declined. It’s tense, it’s sad, and in the end, community and tradition are what keep our protagonists alive and their families together despite the adversity.
Though short, this book has a lot going on in it which made it a slower read for me. There’s the intersection of community obligation and caring for the desperate. There’s the tension of what to do when technology starts failing and how to merge tradition with survival. Each brief chapter has so much going on, I had to reread a few of them more than once to really catch all the layers.
There’s also the looming fear of uncertainty. It’s not horror in much of the sense that there’s an evil to defeat or run from. It’s horror in that way where survival is the goal, and the costs associated. There is a human boogeyman in the form of Justin Scott, who arrives on the scene with a literal bang and the side-eying doesn’t end there. I can’t say too much more because that would be spoilers, but having something dangerous inside the metaphorical house of the reservation ups the ante so much. At the end of winter, there is a sigh of relief, but an acknowledgment of the work to come.