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Despite recently being thrust into the limelight thanks to a certain senator from West Virginia, Appalachia often gets overlooked in climate discussions. A beautiful, mountainous region in the eastern US that played a big role in my life growing up, Appalachia might be one of the most misunderstood and maligned parts of the country, thanks in no small part to damaging depictions found in books like Hillbilly Elegy and in films like Deliverance. So you can imagine my excitement when I heard about a new novel that seems to actually understand this place: Trashlands by Alison Stine.
Set in a near-distant future Appalachia, Trashlands is a brilliant and inventive story that sees the region transformed into a giant junkyard where plastic waste is currency. The book focuses on a young woman named Coral, an aspiring artist and “plucker”—someone who cleans up plastic litter. In this interview, Alison and I talk all about Trashlands, the role of art in facing the climate emergency, and about some of the issues raised in the book that we can see in real life today.
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“Trashlands” by Alison Stine
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About the creator
Alison Stine is a poet, freelance journalist, and award-winning novelist from rural Ohio. In addition to writing three poetry collections and a novella, Alison has also written and published two novels: the Philip K. Dick Award winning Road Out of Winter and her latest, Trashlands. Alison lives in Colorado with her family where she contributes to the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, 100 Days in Appalachia, and more. Visit her website at alisonstine.com to learn more.
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