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The Dog Stars Audiobook

The Dog Stars

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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

4.2 (2084 )
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  •  
    Erica United States 08-11-13
    Erica United States 08-11-13 Member Since 2016

    If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, A hoper, a pray-er, a magic-bean buyer. If you're a pretender come sit by my fire

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    "Feels Just Like a Post-Apocalyptic Wasteland"

    ...which is unfortunately pretty boring. The author does a really good job making you feel the isolation and despair and the joy in the really small, everyday things. The narration is also really slow, which probably aids in the feel that this book was going for? But I had to listen to it at 2x speed. Parts of this books were amazing, but for the most part the action felt cursory, the shocking grotesque scenes felt out of place, and the interesting authorial style seemed to dissipate as the story progressed. All told, though, it's an interesting story of the apocalypse that focuses not on fending off zombies or fighting the elements but just on living. I recommend this if you like pastoral novels or don't appreciate the fast-paced hollywood-style of story-telling.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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    SGTiplady Palmer, AK, United States 05-08-13
    SGTiplady Palmer, AK, United States 05-08-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Loved everything about this story!"

    Peter Heller writes such sweet, lyrical prose that it almost takes you out of the horror his characters are living. I loved that Hig, the story's teller, was still able to see so much natural beauty all around him even though the world had ended and been replaced with a nightmare. He also finds loveliness and a familial connection in the people he happens to meet who decide not to kill him just be cause he might be a threat to them, but wait to see if he might be worth trusting, worth saving, worth forming a bond with. He remains positive in a dark world and he finds light where it still exists, even when it might be hiding. Mark Deakins' narration was perfect. I look forward to more from this author and this narrator.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aaron 05-07-13
    Aaron 05-07-13 Member Since 2016
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    "Pure Escapism"


    I like to read reviews, so that I can find books like this and new authors!


    Never heard of Peter Heller, I never saw this book before, and if I had seen this book I would have passed on it purely because of the title. "The Dog Stars" title is a reference made by the main character near the end of the story that has very little outward importance to the contents of the book. It is the kind of title that shows the author's propensity for the 'subtle or poetic' in his writing.

    I enjoy reading PA Stories when they have a modicum of good writing surrounding a plausible storyline. "The Dog Stars" is what "Survivors: A Novel" wanted to be, but wasn't.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phil Johnson Walnut Creek, CA USA 05-02-13
    Phil Johnson Walnut Creek, CA USA 05-02-13 Member Since 2016

    #1 Aud Bks: T Help,T Darling, All D Sedaris,Prayer for Owen M.All G Flynn ,Secrt Lang of Bees, Bel Canto, 11/22/63 H2O fr Elephants Dog Star

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    "Apocalyptic, but worth it."

    Apocalyptic stories are not really my style ( I asked for a refund real quickly for xxxxx), but this story was wonderful . I have to admit that there is a real dog central to the story, for which I am often a sucker for. Anyhow, it is done well. Other reviewers are more articulate about writing style (sparse, but great) and plot development. I was swept away.
    Highly recommended.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Oliver 04-30-13
    Oliver 04-30-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Dog stars"

    A little sad in parts, but mostly up beat for a post apocalyptic book. I really enjoyed the book. It was very easy to listen to, and is very believable, I guess, if you think much about life after our civilization.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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    mary harvard, MA, United States 04-28-13
    mary harvard, MA, United States 04-28-13 Member Since 2012
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    "An apocalypse with heart"
    If you could sum up The Dog Stars in three words, what would they be?

    thoughtful, poetic, well written


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

    This is as sad as " The Road" but leaves more room for hope.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brent Dewey, AZ, United States 04-08-13
    Brent Dewey, AZ, United States 04-08-13 Member Since 2005
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    "Pleasantly Surprised"

    I got this title due to an interview with Peter Heller that I heard on the radio. I've always had a soft spot for "End of the World as We know it" stories. I read "Earth Abides many years ago and many times since and love it. "Dahlgren" by Delaney, while freaky as all get out, kept me riveted even though I didn't understand half of it. And of course, there's "The Change" series by S.M. Stirling. If you're looking for something along any of these stories lines, forget it. The plot is pretty basic but it's the presentation of the characters and setting the I found remarkable. Heller's love for poetry saturates his writing. It's like he can't help it. The book reads like one big poem with lots of stream of consciousness thrown in. Don't let that turn you off though. Mark Deakins, the reader, goes through this book so smoothly that it took me a while to realize exactly what Heller was trying, and succeeding, to do. The book is entirely written in the first person from the viewpoint of the main character named Higg. Heller conveys Higg's thoughts, feelings, emotions and motivations beautifully without being overly verbose. Like poetry, it is language stripped down to it's barest essentials but with full meaning. No small feat.
    It may be that this could be a difficult book to read. I'm glad that I listened to it on an audio book.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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    Rebecca South Burlington, VT, United States 04-06-13
    Rebecca South Burlington, VT, United States 04-06-13 Member Since 2016
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    "A great book & a great apocalypse book"
    What did you love best about The Dog Stars?

    A fascinating tale told by the slightly fever-addled brain of our narrator. One of those gritty realistic apocalypse tales with a lot of survival details, but not quite as dark as The Road. It was suspenseful and excellently written.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Dog Stars?

    How the character of Bangly was developed and revealed throughout the story. He was such an unlikeable character at first I was almost rooting for him to die, but that changes through the book. Also he is just your typical gun nut waiting for the apocalypse to really shine, so that was interesting to see played out.


    Any additional comments?

    This is not a PG-13 book. Definitely rated R or worse due to sexual content more than violence, so not good for kids. (Which is a shame)

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cindy Tucson, AZ, USA 03-18-13
    Cindy Tucson, AZ, USA 03-18-13 Member Since 2006
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    "Must read"
    Any additional comments?

    This is one of the very best of the recent disaster novels. Don't miss it if you like the genre at all.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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    Enzo Austin, TX, United States 03-12-13
    Enzo Austin, TX, United States 03-12-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Dark and engrossing"

    This was very well written. It's dark and funny and will stay with you for a while.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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