cover image Trashlands


Alison Stine. Mira, $27.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-7783-1127-0

Philip K. Dick Award winner Stine (Road Out of Winter) sets this 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. The sordid strip club Trashlands in flood-prone “Scrappalachia” serves as the narrative hub as the novel shifts through multiple characters’ recollections and struggles. Among the expansive cast are the good-hearted sex-workers Foxglove and Summer; the vile Rattlesnake Master; single mother Coral, a scavenger of plastic who makes eerie art out of garbage; Coral’s lover, Trillium; the idealistic reporter, Miami; and the aging Mr. Fall, a teacher who agrees to help Coral find her stolen son. “You couldn’t be picky and live” in this rotting junkyard where women are treated as disposable and life comprises a heartbreaking miasma of hunger, yearning, ruthlessness, and compassion. Stine draws on her personal experience of today’s Appalachia to craft 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. Agent: Eric Smith, P.S. Literary. (Oct.)