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The Dog Stars | [Peter Heller]

The Dog Stars

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 exists beyond the airport.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (1510 )
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4.4 (1333 )
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Performance
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  •  
    elaine United States 12-29-12
    elaine United States 12-29-12 Member Since 2011

    I'm an avid audible book listener. I am a huge fan of supernatural books and like stuff that is scary but well written. I live in Denver Co

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    "Beautifully written"

    This is a beautifully written story. You very much get inside the character's head. The very brief "love scene" is important to the story and so beautifully written out. Not crude or graphic in the least. I would absolutely read something written by this author again.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Escondido, CA, United States 12-19-12
    James Escondido, CA, United States 12-19-12 Member Since 2011
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    "A great post-apocalyptic story"
    Would you listen to The Dog Stars again? Why?

    Yes, I would. I really enjoyed the performance.


    What other book might you compare The Dog Stars to and why?

    "The Road", but not as dark.


    What does Mark Deakins bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The voice differences of the characters made for good listening.


    If you could rename The Dog Stars, what would you call it?

    No, would not rename it.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    NorthFLADiver 12-09-12
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    "Excellent Book!"

    Rather than strictly a discussion of surviving after the end of the world, Higg, the main character, thinks back on all that he had "before" and all that he has lost. In the process, the listener evaluates just what is important in life and why. Certain parts of the book are very touching. They make the tears roll down or the laughter emerge. The performance by Mark Deakins really made this a fantastic listen. As he jumped back and forth between characters in dialogue, I was amazed that it was the same person reading all parts, especially dialogue between Higg and Bangley. I was mildly disappointed with the ending, or I would have given the story 5 stars. Still, it was an entertaining book.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donna Sebastian, FL, United States 11-24-12
    Donna Sebastian, FL, United States 11-24-12 Member Since 2011
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    "A surprisingly good read"

    When I read what the story line of the book was I really was not too interested in reading it, but the reviews were so good I decided to give it a try. Wow, now I know why the reviews were so good. It is not just the story line, it is the way Heller writes. It is just beautiful. I think he could make a recipe a best seller, especially if it was narrated by Mark Deakins. The narration was probably one of the most brilliant I have experienced. It is not a story of doom and gloom, it is a story of hope with enough humor thrown in to make it a great read.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beth Anne Philadelphia, PA, United States 11-06-12
    Beth Anne Philadelphia, PA, United States 11-06-12 Member Since 2012

    i like to read. i like to listen.

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    "Sad but hopeful story."
    Where does The Dog Stars rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I think it's up pretty high up there.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The fact that it touched me so much. I laughed and cried. I loved the stark speech.


    What does Mark Deakins bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He put heart and soul into this reading. He made Higg seem so realistic. He brought emotion to every word...even the stuff inside Higg's head.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes. I was very interested in how it was going to end. I would have liked to take a day off from work and family and just listened. I couldn't do that, but I did find myself sneaking in 5 or 10 minutes whenever I could. Walking to the mailbox, doing the laundry, during baby naps. I couldn't stop listening.


    Any additional comments?

    A lot of people are comparing this to The Road by Cormac McCarthy...but I found this book to be much better. It was more emotional, more sad, but also more hopeful.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alexandra 11-04-12
    Alexandra 11-04-12
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    "The end of life as we know it! Makes u think"

    Really enjoyed listening to this - kept me hooked but the ending was somewhat conventional hence i only gave this 4 stars. The scenario is realistic - this is something that could happen to us and we are left guessing who was responsible for the catastrophe. It also is very telling as to what happens to people when you strip all the accoutrements of the modern civilization away.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Crystal oakland, CA, United States 10-31-12
    Crystal oakland, CA, United States 10-31-12 Member Since 2015
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    "Disappointing."

    I don't know why I keep downloading apocalyptic fiction. None of them, including this one, gives me any reason to mourn the annihilation of mankind - particularly if he learns nothing from the near-erasure of the species.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cheryl Waunakee, WI, United States 10-29-12
    Cheryl Waunakee, WI, United States 10-29-12 Member Since 2011
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    "A little depressing"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Don't kill everyone.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    No real surprises. Could've been more imaginative.


    Have you listened to any of Mark Deakins’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    First listen.


    Could you see The Dog Stars being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    No, not movie material.


    Any additional comments?

    Not the best end-of-the-world story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mishap Houston, TX 10-29-12
    Mishap Houston, TX 10-29-12 Member Since 2010

    Mishap

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    "A "stellar" story!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Dog Stars to be better than the print version?

    I didn't read the print version but as "The Dog Stars" reads almost like an Epic poem at points I can't image it not being read aloud.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The poetic and lyrical quality of the story. The most beautifully written post apocalyptic story I have read.


    What about Mark Deakins’s performance did you like?

    Mark Deakin's really painted a picture with his narration, I could absolutely see what he was reading.


    If you could rename The Dog Stars, what would you call it?

    Point of no Return


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael kansas city, MO, United States 10-29-12
    Michael kansas city, MO, United States 10-29-12

    Say something about yourself!

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    "Great story"

    i loved this book.. didnt want it to end.. i wish the dog was longer lived.. i search for stories like this.. the part about him and the mirror was humbling.. to think of seeing your face after so long.. great story.. guy lit?

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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