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?
Haunted ... Subtle but powerful ... In Stine’s novel, the relationships are what keep the survivors going. Even in times when basic needs necessitate constant work, love and art create lives worth getting up for. In Trashlands, Stine builds a world in which dark times have descended. And yet, she insists, the things that make us human persist. This is her ballad to love in a time of darkness — future and present.
Stine has once again written a thought-provoking, harrowing feminist tale that is a natural extension of our current climate crisis. Beyond the prescient plot, Stine’s characters shine with rich interior lives. Like Coral and her art, the characters create love, small comforts, and joy amidst their grueling day-to-day existences. Highly recommended for all fiction collections.
Searing ... 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.