From the author of Road Out of Winter, winner of the 2021 Philip K. Dick Award, comes a resonant, visionary novel about the power of art and the sacrifices we are willing to make for the ones we love
A few generations from now, the coastlines of the continent have been redrawn by floods and tides. Global powers have agreed to not produce any new plastics, and what is left has become valuable: garbage is currency.
In the region-wide junkyard that Appalachia has become, Coral is a “plucker,” pulling plastic from the rivers and woods. She’s stuck in Trashlands, a dump named for the strip club at its edge, where the local women dance for an endless loop of strangers and the club's violent owner rules as unofficial mayor.
Amid the polluted landscape, Coral works desperately to save up enough to rescue her child from the recycling factories, where he is forced to work. In her stolen free hours, she does something that seems impossible in this place: Coral makes art.
When a reporter from a struggling city on the coast arrives in Trashlands, Coral is presented with an opportunity to change her life. But is it possible to choose a future for herself?
Told in shifting perspectives, Trashlands is a beautifully drawn and wildly imaginative tale of a parent's journey, a story of community and humanity in a changed world.
“A harrowing tale that is a natural extension of our current climate crisis.... Highly recommended.” –Booklist, starred review
“[A] searing exploration of the lives of women who are mired in grinding poverty in a climate-ravaged near-future where plastic has become humanity’s only currency…. a harrowing vision of the future, and at its center is the tug-of-war between what is right and what is necessary to survive. This painful, thought-provoking apocalypse noir fires on all cylinders.”
–Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Stine has once again written a thought-provoking, harrowing feminist tale that is a natural extension of our current climate crisis. Highly recommended for all fiction collections.”
–Booklist, starred review
“Absolutely incredible… a real journey.”
“Alison’s Stine’s newest novel, Trashlands, is audacious, unsettling, and beautiful. And like all great apocalyptic stories—perhaps all great novels—it invokes both terror and tenderness. Stine is at the top of her game and Trashlands is a literary page-turner—fiction at its finest.”
—Bryan Bliss, National Book Award Longlist Author of We’ll Fly Away
"A triumph... It's about time someone sang us the song of trailer parks and strip joints of the post-apocalyptic South, and Stine has the right voice to do it. Trashlands is that rare piece of cli-fi that reminds us that the apocalypse will not be evenly distributed. Poor people on the edges of the world strive here in Stine's prescient imagination: harvesting plastic, doing sex work, tasting the future that should have been in the last few cans of Coke. This book is as biting and sweet and as dark as that bubbling old-world treat. Readers who want more like Atwood's The Year of the Flood or Valente's The Future is Blue will be lucky to wash up on Trashland's littered shores.”
—Meg Elison, Locus and Philip K Dick Award winning author of The Book of the Unnamed Midwife
“I felt every single word of this prescient novel deep in my blood. Inventive, expansive, and wild at heart, Trashlands proves that a mother’s love will outlast all else, even the earth’s ruin. Alison Stine writes like no other—with trademark ferocity and covert warmth as her characters make miracles out of what the rest of the world threw away. Stunning, through and through.”
–Amy Jo Burns, author of Shiner
“Alison Stine’s visionary novel Trashlands is beautiful and painful at once, much like the devastating world of the future that she sees to the page here. I was left in awe of her imagination and deeply moved by her brave and unforgettable characters.”
—Nova Ren Suma, author of the bestselling The Walls Around Us