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.
The Dog Stars was the best book I have read in a long time. A story of loss, rebirth, and growth set in a post apocalyptic world. The author made me feel it all. The loss was painful, the rebirth was confusing and scary, and the growth was sweet and heart warming. I admired the hero who was vulnerable yet strong and innocent yet wise. I was sad to say goodbye to this character at the end of the story.
I lived inside this story for days, relishing every word, character and image. It was a shock when the voice went silent. And for once, I felt like saying: Yes, thank you, Audible - I did enjoy this program.
If you enjoy excellent writing and the post-apocalyptic genre, this is a must. I didn't have terribly high expectations, but if I did, this book would have exceeded them. The best book I've listened to since Cutting for Stone, and I listen to a LOT of books (I have to do the "buy 3 credits now" before my credits come in each month) . The prose, with absolutely excellent narration, felt to my ears like melted butter on homemade muffins feels to my mouth. I devoured it. I adore being read to sleep, but this book could cure narcolepsy. I listened though sleep, while driving and was completely distracted from work.
Told as a single narrative, The Dog Stars is an intriguing story which grabs and pulls you in. A great story, expertly told.
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.
but still well worth a listen. What would the world be like after a pandemic? What would you miss? How would your values change? Even though this book is set in a depressing scenario, it is not necessarily depressing. It looks at how one man copes over the long haul. Worth the credit.
On a very rare occasion a book and the perfect reader connect. This is one of those books.
Yes. Yes yes yes. This book succeeds in every way The Road failed for me. Set in Colorado after disease has wiped out most of the population, Hig has learned how to keep a small bit of his humanity while reluctantly doing what it takes to survive. Others aren't so reluctant, including Bangley, with whom he's formed an uneasy partnership.
The story hooks you from the beginning and builds nicely to the end, and Heller does a great job of developing characters you really care about. Then there's Jasper, Hig's beloved old dog, who made me come home and hug Garth every day after listening on my commute. I was, at the end, amazed how much I cared about these people (and dogs) and the bonds they formed. The writing is superb. About the only negative I can think of is the writing style Heller uses: Somewhat fragmented, perhaps the way inner dialog streams through our protagonist’s head. I barely noticed it while listening, but did see some reviews that a few readers were somewhat frustrated by it in the beginning, but after they stuck with it for a while it flowed naturally and worked well.
Things for my own remembrance follow.
(On constellations): I name one for a scrappy, fish-loving dog.
I still dream Jasper is alive. Before that, my heart will not go.
My favorite poem, the one by Li Shang-Yin:
When Will I Be Home?
When will I be home? I don't know.
In the mountains, in the rainy night,
The Autumn lake is flooded.
Someday we will be back together again.
We will sit in the candlelight by the West window.
And I will tell you how I remembered you
Tonight on the stormy mountain.
A quiet and powerful story about survival, isolation, memories,and new relationships. This novel is both subtle, as well as violent, gripping, and suspenseful. There is a slice of life within the book that details the connection between a man and his dog that is very well done. This novel is not one that I would usually choose, but I trusted the reader reviews, and it paid off.