Road out of winter

Alison Stine, 1978-

Book - 2020

"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. With grow lights stashed in her truck and a pouch of precious seeds, she begins a journey, determined to start over away from Appalachian Ohio. But the icy roads and strangers hidden in the hills are treacherou...s. After a harrowing encounter with a violent cult, Wil and her small group of exiles become a target for the cult's volatile leader. Because she has the most valuable skill in the climate chaos: she can make things grow."--Back cover.

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Subjects
Genres
Dystopian fiction
Science fiction
Published
Toronto, Onatario, Canada : Mira [2020]
Language
English
Item Description
"A novel"--Cover.
Physical Description
314 pages ; 21 cm
ISBN
9780778309925
0778309924
Main Author
Alison Stine, 1978- (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Twentysomething Wylodine has led a tough life of poverty and neglect in Appalachian Ohio. Her only friend, Lisbeth, is a member of the Church, an organization that Wil views more as a cult. Wil lives in a trailer on a farm that belongs to her mother's boyfriend, Lobo, a grower and supplier of marijuana. After a late spring and snow in September, Wil's mother and Lobo venture forth to California in search of better weather. When spring doesn't arrive at all the next year and the world keeps becoming colder, more people, including Lisbeth and members of the Church, leave for warmer weather. Wil is determined to stay, until she receives a postcard from her mother asking her to come to California. As Wil treks to California in her trailer, she picks up fellow travelers along the way. With echoes of The Road and Winter's Bone, Stine's latest is an excellent feminist dystopian novel of survival, desperation and, ultimately, hope. Like the seeds Wil cultivates, beauty emerges from the hard shell of the narrative of despondency and cruelty. Sublimely written and with much for book clubs to discuss, this book is highly recommended for all collections. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

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. Wil, who sells her parents' basement-grown weed with her power to make anything grow, while at the Crossroads gas station, yearns in their two-year absence to leave southeast Ohio's Appalachia and join them in California. The ever-cold and early dark signs of devastating climate change are freakish enough, but people lining up for bottled water, and hunting the woods for meat, has become the new normal. After encountering, and reluctantly taking in, woods-wandering Grayson, who has twisted his ankle, Wil hitches up her trailer home and trucks off. Her instincts to cover, hide, and keep secrets resonates with the broader environment of chaotic Internet identities and pervasive surveillance. Paranoia is dominant. Wil's chronic emotional state, fortunately, is self-control in a desolate journey peopled by violent cults, drifters, and elitist deviants confronted by a natural world most have lost the ability to comprehend, let alone survive. VERDICT Readers searching for a novel fueled by fierce intelligence and empathy will find here a celebration of humanity, and a warning against its loss.—William Grabowski, McMechen, WV Copyright 2020 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Society collapses after two consecutive years of winter in this haunting dystopia from Stine (The Protectors). When Wil's family leaves Appalachian Ohio for California, 20-something Wil is left behind to tend the family business of illegally growing and selling marijuana. But as the town's residents realize there will be no spring this year once again, Wil receives a postcard from her mother with her new address. She sets out to meet her mother, accompanied by two young men she rescues, one who was lost in the woods and one who was caught in a mob of angry townsfolk. On their cross-country journey in a truck they encounter helpful environmentalists; a dangerous, totalitarian community that's sprung up in a skate park; and a suicide cult. Wil's farming skills and collection of vegetable seeds and grow lights may be her only chance of survival, but they also make her a target for those willing to kill for her resources. Stine's prose is crisp and atmospheric ("The earth was so frozen it was like chipping at bone.... Snow quickly filled the holes I had made, as if even this small blackness was not allowed to stay in the new white world"), and though bleakness abounds, the ending strikes a lovely balance of hope and pathos. Fans of climate fiction and found family stories will be entranced. Agent: Eric Smith, P.S. Literary. (Sept.) Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

An impoverished girl from a marijuana farming family is forced by another summerless year to embark on a treacherous journey through the backroads of Appalachia to find missing relatives and a new way to survive. Original. 50,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

2021 winner of the Philip K. Dick AwardA 2020 The Rumpus Book Club Selection“Blends a rural thriller and speculative realism into what could be called dystopian noir…. Profoundly moving.”—Library Journal, starred reviewIn an endless winter, she carries seeds of hopeWylodine 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.With grow lights stashed in her truck and a pouch of precious seeds, she begins a journey, determined to start over away from Appalachian Ohio. But the icy roads and strangers hidden in the hills are treacherous. After a harrowing encounter with a violent cult, Wil and her small group of exiles become a target for the cult’s volatile leader. Because she has the most valuable skill in the climate chaos: she can make things grow.Urgent and poignant, 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. Both gripping and lyrical, Stine’s vision is of a changing world where an unexpected hero searches for where hope might take root.“Richly imagined, deeply moving and unthinkably offers hope in a world that uncannily resembles ours…. Gloriously well-written.” —Ms. MagazineAnd don't miss the next literary speculative novel from Alison Stine, TRASHLANDS, coming October 2021.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

2021 winner of the Philip K. Dick AwardA 2020 The Rumpus Book Club Selection"Blends a rural thriller and speculative realism into what could be called dystopian noir'. Profoundly moving.''Library Journal, starred reviewIn an endless winter, she carries seeds of hopeWylodine 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.With grow lights stashed in her truck and a pouch of precious seeds, she begins a journey, determined to start over away from Appalachian Ohio. But the icy roads and strangers hidden in the hills are treacherous. After a harrowing encounter with a violent cult, Wil and her small group of exiles become a target for the cult's volatile leader. Because she has the most valuable skill in the climate chaos: she can make things grow.Urgent and poignant, 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. With the gripping suspense of The Road and the lyricism of Station Eleven, Stine's vision is of a changing world where an unexpected hero searches for where hope might take root.'Richly imagined, deeply moving and unthinkably offers hope in a world that uncannily resembles ours currently in the thick of COVID-19'. Gloriously well-written.' 'Ms. Magazine