Stop listening to other people's opinions and form one of your own. That's sound advice, or not. It all depends on how literal you take it.
This book held my attention and put me right there at the airfield with the protagonist, though it did drag in a few spots and spawn a love interest that seemed to have no place in this kind of story other than to give this tale a bit of happy for those that need that sort of thing.
Other than that, it was a fun read.
There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away Nor any Coursers like a Page Of prancing Poetry – Emily Dickinson
I loved the writing in The Dog Stars! The author did such a great job of evoking the main character’s personality. Hig was a combination of an outdoorsman and “man’s man,” and then also a poet and philosopher. He was sensitive and often compassionate; I really loved his character.
The Dog Stars reminded me of “The Little Prince” in which the narrator flies around the world in his airplane, is stranded in the desert, and meets the little prince who expounds on the beauties and also the frailties of the world. Like The Little Prince, The Dog Stars presents a lesson about life. This famous line from The Little Prince is really the theme of that book: "One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye." In the Dog Stars, it seems like the apocalypse has made Hig’s past life “invisible, “ and somehow allowed him to live more in the present, appreciating every small beauty, like the little prince said! Hig is has a poetic nature anyway, and so his observations throughout the book are poignant and touching.
At the end of The Little Prince, the prince tells the narrator that when he leaves it will make the narrator sad, but it will be consoling to look at the stars and think of the prince's lovable laughter, and that it will seem as if all the stars are laughing. It seems like Hig uses the stars in this way, as a sort of consolation, and that the name of the book refers to the nostalgia and beauty in the memories of all the stars he has named that console him in his current, post apocalyptic life.
The Dog Stars is the type of sci-fi that I like. I think you could call this science fiction in that it takes one aspect of the world today and fictionalizes it, but still lets all the characters interact in totally realistic way, and the lessons learned apply to us today in the real world. All the ruminations that Hig dished out over the course of the book seemed to be useful not only in a post apocalyptic world, but also in our modern day world.
I loved Hig’s relationship with Bingley. They are forced together, and they both learn from each other. The evolution of Bingley’s character is interesting and heartwarming.
Another reader suggestion, and another hit. This one is abit erotic, abit violent, and a whole lot interesting. The story really doesn't go in any linear direction, but rather is a slice of post apocalpytic life, with a very complex narrator and associated characters.
I have been listening to quite a few of these types of "end times" books lately, and this one qualifies as "best of breed". Very definitely more of a psychological study, and a good one at that.
Needless to say, highly recommended.
Heller gives readers a look into a future that we fear. What remains of one's humanity when survival depends on meeting basic needs and killing any and all who venture into range? The hero is a unique character. Hig reads & writes poetry, is kind to outcasts and cries a lot. He is also a good if reluctant hunter and a pretty good killer when the situation warrants. The story is told in first person but not always in complete sentences--more like thoughts. The plot progresses slowly but I enjoyed every minute. Even though the book stands on its own merits, I want a sequel!
One of those books better in audible format than written not because the text version would leave something to be desired but because the performance was so outstanding.
The Path Between the Seas to The Great Bridge ~ Kagan's Peloponnesian War to Gaddis' Cold One ~ Mornings on Horseback to a River of Doubt ~ Tom to Huck ~ Lennie to Charley ~ Cadfael to Cross ~ Rhyme to Reacher ~ Blomkvist and Salander to Wallander and Wallander ~ Moving Cheese or Eating Frogs ~ On the Road and Into Thin Air ~ The End of History to A Short History of Everything to ... well ... everything else.
Much more than On the Beach or a Boy and His Dog or other better-known post-apocalypse fiction, The Dog Stars offers a realistic vision of life after ~ the life we live and the life we feel.
This is a story of life leavened by sadism, by courage, by terror, by loss, by hatred, by madness and, ultimately, by the many types of love. A remarkable debut novel ~ watch for more from Peter Heller!
I LOVE books. And dogs & quilting & beading & volunteering.
Most of the reviews of the written version of "The Dog Stars" on Amazon, many readers disliked this book, primarily because it's without dialog-very little give and take..Instead, it's kind of a train of thought and reminded me of the journaling part in "Dances With Wolves" , though the plot is more "The Stand". It's very much one persons reflections on his life.
The story takes place about a decade after the pandemic that kills most of the life on earth. People band together in small groups-this novel relates the story of a couple of these groups. The primary protagonists are Hig and Bangley-two very different men tho have joined together in mutual support. One is a farmer and a pilot, the other is a survivalist hunter type. They support each other, though they aren't really friends. Other characters come to play in Higs relating of his days events, some important, some not so much.
Mark Denkins's narration made everything that could be made of the story line-without his excellent voice, the book could become tedious, however I had a difficult time really getting into the book-it won't be for everyone...It's not an action/thriller story, not a romance or mystery. It simply related Hig's daily life and various characters interactions with him. Slightly dull-I had a difficult time giving the book a rating.
If you like introspective stories, you might enjoy this-not so much if you are looking for action-there isn't much of that here. It's just different.
I ignore genre labels. Some of my favorite books are outside my genre comfort zone. Listening to audiobooks is still reading. Not theater.
I am on a roll that started with The Girl With All the Gifts. This is the fourth post apocalyptic book I have read in the last 12 months. Which is 4 more than I've read in the last 20 years.
The Dog Stars covers much the same ground as Station Eleven, or I guess I should say that the other way around since The Dog Stars came out first. It was perhaps better written. Heller's MFA from the Iowa Writer's Workshop shows. He writes almost lyrically. His magazine background shows as well. The writing is tight and he doesn't use any extra words. So much so that many of his sentences are just a single word. That can be annoying when reading, but I listened to this so I did not have that problem. And the narration was wonderful.
The plot revolves around a guy's guy - a carpenter, outdoorsy Colorado guy who loves to hunt, fly his Cessna and most of all fish. His best friend is a dog and his companion is someone even more macho than Hig is. The author soften's Hig up a bit by confessing that he writes poetry and he clearly loved his wife. But Hig's response and reaction to the events occurring around him are definitely from a guy's perspective, so it was sometimes difficult for me to relate or wonder at his response.
But Heller does a wonderful job of capturing the loneliness Hig deals with constantly. It is so thick you can physically feel it. He portrays Hig's lonely existence so well, that this is the first book of this type I have read where I found myself thinking that the 99.9% of the population that died got the better end of the deal. There seemed very little in his world that encouraged him to live. Especially after he loses his best friend. The chapter retelling that loss is one of the best pieces of writing I have seen in a very long time.
There really wasn't a climactic end to the book, no resolution, no closure. I know that books in this genre can't have "happy" endings, but I always feel like I must have missed a couple of pages at the end, because the words just stop. And that is the only way you know the story is finished.
I recommend this book. Especially in audio format. It is well worth reading.
At the risk of divulging too much, it could be argued that The Dog Stars is actually two stories that happen to be intertwined. I'll resist going into any detail, but suffice to say the author did a masterful job of handling the course of the plot and pace at which it plays out. (Mercifully, it means no maddening "to be continued" scenarios.)
Each character required their entire presence in the book to develop, which would make sense were it not for the nature of how the story plays out. It could be argued it served as a payoff in the end, but requires more patience than some readers may have. It tested mine at times.
The narrator did an excellent job overall especially handling the genders and ages. If I had one criticism, it would be the occasional gap in emotive quality expressed vocally as the main character (which is somewhat I ironic.) it never lacks when it would be demanded, but it is as if they seem to fall into an emotionally monotone narrative. It doesn't harm the storytelling, but it was perceptible enough to create what I would qualify as unnatural contrasts.
To be fair, the author does take liberties with rich, immersive descriptions which I found to be wholly satisfying. I felt connected, kindred even, with the main character and his thoughts, observations, and feelings. More so than any other story I've read or watched recently.
And that is a deeper debt than most writers can incur on a reader.
I started reading this book several years ago when it was released. I didn't finish it before starting a new job and have spent years wondering what happened to Hig and if he found what he was seeking.
I finally decided to stop wondering and download it here. I usually listen on my commute or while doing chores. This book is so enchanting I found myself sitting down in the middle of a project so I could focus on the story.
Hig is a fantastic character. He's manly, but not hard. You wouldn't exactly call him a wimp, but he and his dog, Jasper, are unlikely survivors of an apocalypse. At least Hig managed to keep himself alive long enough to team up with a fanatic that makes Clint Eastwood look like a sissy. Bangley is a GREAT character. He's mean, hard, insane, and by the time Hig left for his big adventure I completely loved him.
Hig survived the flu that wiped out most of the world, but he didn't get out unscathed. He lost his pregnant wife and the fever altered his brain function though his intelligence in intact. Hig's narration. of the story is broken and sometimes travels in weird patterns as a result. As the book progresses, this is less noticeable though. Does Hig change that much or does the reader become accustomed to the strange thought pattern? It's hard to say.
This is a fantastic story of humanity. I laughed, I cried, and I'll be thinking about the story for days.