A riveting, powerful novel about a pilot living in a world filled with loss - and what he is willing to risk to rediscover, against all odds, connection, love, and grace.
Hig survived the flu that killed everyone he knows. His wife is gone, his friends are dead, he lives in the hangar of a small abandoned airport with his dog, his only neighbor a gun-toting misanthrope. In his 1956 Cessna, Hig flies the perimeter of the airfield or sneaks off to the mountains to fish and to pretend that things are the way they used to be. But when a random transmission somehow beams through his radio, the voice ignites a hope deep inside him that a better life - something like his old life - exists beyond the airport.
Risking everything, he flies past his point of no return - not enough fuel to get him home - following the trail of the static-broken voice on the radio. But what he encounters and what he must face - in the people he meets, and in himself - is both better and worse than anything he could have hoped for.
Narrated by a man who is part warrior and part dreamer, a hunter with a great shot and a heart that refuses to harden, The Dog Stars is both savagely funny and achingly sad, a breathtaking story about what it means to be human.
©2012 Peter Heller (P)2012 Random House Audio
"Richly evocative yet streamlined journal entries propel the high-stakes plot while simultaneously illuminating Hig's nuanced states of mind as isolation and constant vigilance exact their toll, along with his sorrow for the dying world.... Heller's surprising and irresistible blend of suspense, romance, social insight, and humor creates a cunning form of cognitive dissonance neatly pegged by Hig as an apocalyptic parody of Norman Rockwell...a novel, that is, of spiky pleasure and signal resonance." (Booklist)
"In the tradition of postapocalyptic literary fiction such as Cormac McCarthy's The Road and Jim Crace's The Pesthouse, this hypervisceral first novel by adventure writer Heller (Kook) takes place nine years after a superflu has killed off much of mankind.... With its evocative descriptions of hunting, fishing, and flying, this novel, perhaps the world's most poetic survival guide, reads as if Billy Collins had novelized one of George Romero's zombie flicks. From start to finish, Heller carries the reader aloft on graceful prose, intense action, and deeply felt emotion." (Publishers Weekly)
"Leave it to Peter Heller to imagine a post-apocalyptic world that contains as much loveliness as it does devastation. His likable hero, Hig, flies around what was once Colorado in his 1956 Cessna, chasing all the same things we chase in these pre-annihilation days: love, friendship, the solace of the natural world, the chance to perform some small kindness, and a good dog for a co-pilot. The Dog Stars is a wholly compelling and deeply engaging debut." (Pam Houston, author of Contents May Have Shifted)
I was surprised. At the beginning, the brutality made me ready to quit. But the poetic description of trout fishing, the continual reflection, the slow progression of the protagonit's thoughts - all kept me listening.
It depends on which ones. My wife is not interested in reading about shooting others to live. It may happen but she refuses to read such stories. However, I have guy friends who are glad that I told them about this book. Almost all of them will read instead of listen to it. It was a reasonably well written story that has lots of adventure and action on a steady basis.
It was a story about a decent guy who had an extremely tough life because of the drastic events of earlier days and his only true friend just might have been his dog.
The reading of the story was done with the right amount of emotion and compassion. I could understand almost every word without high volume.
The main man who owned the dog. He was the reason for the story. He was strange at times like sleeping outside every night in Colorado without any shelter. Come on. With all the tools, materials available, and construction that was completed in the book lots of possible options come to mind without being stuck in a standard house.
I have since listened to another book by this author, "Hell or High Water". I enjoyed this book also but in my opinion The Dog Stars was better.
Good, literate post-apocalypse book. It's got its share of violent, tense scenes, plus heartbreak, but it's told in a calm, weary way. If you want lots of action, you won't like it. If you prefer thoughtful, poetic books, you probably will. I liked it. But I've read so many post-apocalypse books that this one doesn't really stand out.
It's easy to believe a man would be equally desperate and devastated by survival in a post apocalyptic world. Heller wrote the characters as I believe they would be in the same scenario. At times the story is touching and others you're faced with the potential reality of a world gone mad.
I can only hope in the event of the nightmare scenario where the Earth is wiped clean to begin again I would act as Hig did. His internal conflict with the world he was living felt true and given the decisions he was forced to make I hope I would have the strength to act as he did.
The most poignant thing about the story is that I was left feeling like the main character was a friend. He speaks of instinct and heartache and philosophy and there's truth to what he says. I would discuss the same topics with my friends and wonder where I'd heard them as if they were in my heart instead of in my mind.
I have recommended this to friends and who don't care for the genre. You either like the genre or you don't, I suppose. This is more than that though. This is more literary. It isn't McCarthy's, The Road, but that's a good thing. It's kinder and gentler and gives you hope for the best what's left of the world has to offer.
Post-apocalyptic novels are not my preferred genre. Perhaps that's what why it didn't strike a chord. Descriptions are bountiful and action, in my opinion, rather scarce. I found it long in parts. I kept waiting for something to happen.
At least by the end of the book I felt satisfied enough that something changes in the status quo of the protagonist's life and the reader's (listener) as well as the protagonist's perception shifts to give place to a deepened understanding.
Not one to say this, but perhaps a book better enjoyed when read rather than listened to. At the bookstore, I happened to flip through the book and realized that it's supposed to be read in a staccato, bits of thoughts on the protagonist's part. Doesn't have the same flow/effect when listened to.
I loved this book--not everything about it but overall. I loved the relationship between Hig and Jasper most of all. the comfort and companionship across species in a world where human society has disintegrated. the author never even describes Jasper except to say, at one point, that he has short fur and he was a mix, but he doesn't hazard a guess at the breeds. So I imagined Jasper as a hound retriever mix with a sweet and concerned face. I also came to love the relationship between Hig and his ornery and often kind of awful partner in survival, Bangley. Very aptly named with his love of fire arms and explosives. I found the story interesting and engaging. I don't want to give away too much of the plot because discovering it is part of the pleasure.
The one thing I didn't find realistic was how Jasper was fed. I felt the author went for shock value when there seemed many unexplained missing options for how Jasper could be maintained.
The reader was great. In my mind he sounded how Hig would sound and did a good job with the voices of other characters as well.
Don't let the theme of this book discourage you from listening to Dog Stars.
It's thought provoking, funny, and very entertaining.
I am waiting patiently for the best book on earth!!
The main character trying to always related to the "past" which is today's present. Making the reader see that tomorrow may not be as we planned.
Have not. Will though
Enjoy today, because tomorrow you may want it all back.
My recommendation to a friend will depend on who the friend is. The story lacked a certain depth and at times it slipped into "romance novel" mode by adding too much detail for me. It didn't fit with the rest of the book's style. Lots of violence. Interesting to have it take place within 30 minutes of where I live. I bought the book after hearing a review on an NPR program (Colorado Matters). Liked the idea of reading a Colorado author. I wanted to finish the book but was getting a bit tired of the sameness of the story throughout.
Not a "happy, everything worked out great" ending but not unsatisfying either. It fit with the rest of the story.
His voice helped identify the characters.
Get your guns ready...
This book deals with a future that seems more possible than a lot of futuristic books. Incorporating a flu pandemic, water issues, global warming, etc. hit on topics that may actually catch up with us one day.
Yes, The book was well written, had me thinking of Hemmingway at times. I enjoyed the prose like writing style.
My favorite character was Hig. He is a sensitive guy despite what he has been thru and done. Hig human side gives other not so nice people too many chances for the situation he and the world is in.
I have not listened to any other books narrated by Mark Deakins. Mark did a great job and was very easy to listen to. I was reading and listening to the book with whisper-sync and I preferred to listen to him over my inner voice. His voice gave more depth to the story than mine and added to the story. This is the kind of book audiobooks were made for.
There were a few parts that the writing truly touched me.
Overall, the book was great. The writing style was perfect for this story and framed the story and characters great. I really enjoyed the book and went thru it quicker than I liked. Although I do not re-listen to many books, this one is on my list.
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