Wylodine comes from a world of paranoia and poverty--her family grows marijuana illegally, and life has always been a battle. Now she's been left behind to tend the crop alone. Then spring doesn't return for the second year in a row, bringing unprecedented, extreme winter. Road Out of Winter is a glimpse of an all-too-possible near future, with a chosen family forged in the face of dystopian collapse.
Stine (The Protectors) blends a rural thriller and speculative realism into what could be called dystopian noir. The author’s vision is profoundly moving, as distressing as Daniel Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone but liable to inspire real-world action ... Readers searching for a novel fueled by fierce intelligence and empathy will find here a celebration of humanity, and a warning against its loss.
At the start of Alison Stine’s first novel, Road Out of Winter, the protagonist, a young woman named Wylodine (known as Wil) leaves her rural home in Ohio and sets out for California. As the title indicates, this is a road novel, though it could also be described as post-apocalyptic fiction, or without the grandiose vocabulary, what happens when civilization as we know it falls apart ... It takes a while for Road out of Winter to get going, but once it gets going there’s no stopping it ... The novel doesn’t offer big Orwellian insights about the world in the immediate future. And there’s nothing that approximates Huxley’s Brave New World. The characters drive the plot and create the drama. Readers might want to find out if Wil makes it to California, which the characters imagine as a kind of paradise, though in Road Out of Winter it’s the journey itself not the destination that fuels the narrative. With one published novel under her belt and a feather in her cap, one hopes that Stine has another tale or two up her sleeves.
Alison Stine’s debut novel Road Out of Winter tells the story of a dystopian near-future where, for the second year in a row, it has remained winter ... I was reminded of Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven as so much of the story follows a small group of people traveling together in an unpredictable, and often terrifying, landscape. Additionally though, I was also reminded of Daniel Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone ... Fans of Station Eleven or Winter’s Bone will definitely find a lot to like in Road Out of Winter ... In a very impressive manner, Stine uses the weather and terrain almost as an additional character in this story. Her descriptive language is so completely immersive with the monotony of the snow blanketed landscapes, the unending mysterious woods, and the treacherous broken roads. The landscape becomes a villain on its own, yet another obstacle to be overcome as the main characters search for their Road Out of Winter.