We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
The Dog Stars Audiobook
The Dog Stars
Written by: 
Peter Heller
Narrated by: 
Mark Deakins
 >   > 
The Dog Stars Audiobook

The Dog Stars

Regular Price:$28.00
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

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 (1950 )
5 star
 (880)
4 star
 (671)
3 star
 (282)
2 star
 (68)
1 star
 (49)
Overall
4.2 (1748 )
5 star
 (808)
4 star
 (575)
3 star
 (258)
2 star
 (62)
1 star
 (45)
Story
4.4 (1750 )
5 star
 (985)
4 star
 (546)
3 star
 (167)
2 star
 (29)
1 star
 (23)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Meryl CUMBERLAND CENTER, MAINE, US 07-26-14
    Meryl CUMBERLAND CENTER, MAINE, US 07-26-14 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    124
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    102
    39
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    19
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not Typically an Apocalypse Genre Fan"

    I loved this book. I haven't loved a book this much since listening to/reading Skippy Dies.

    I was reading a New York Times book review last week about Peter Heller's latest novel, The Painter. I never read anything by this author. The reviewer said that they like his first novel The Dog Stars better. So I decided to give it a try.

    Heller's writing style is very different. I think it's very artistic, beautifully written.

    His characters are wonderful especially Hig the protagonist. I love his sensitive description of this man and his dog.

    I don't like fishing but I love art. He made fishing feel like art.

    This story is believable.

    I am now reading/listening to The Painter, Peter Heller's second novel. I'm hoping to love it as much.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark B. 06-10-14
    Mark B. 06-10-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    29
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great story. Seemed real"
    What made the experience of listening to The Dog Stars the most enjoyable?

    Just a great story!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The main character, I could relate to him.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Meeting the woman


    Any additional comments?

    MAKE THIS INTO A MOVIE!!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DSD Georgia 01-03-14
    DSD Georgia 01-03-14 Listener Since 2009

    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.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    27
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    48
    21
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fun leap into the apocalypse"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew SEATTLE, WA, United States 09-07-12
    Matthew SEATTLE, WA, United States 09-07-12 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1418
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    291
    259
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    202
    33
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Compelling.."

    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.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cris Lake Waccamaw, NC, United States 08-16-12
    Cris Lake Waccamaw, NC, United States 08-16-12 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    399
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    48
    45
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    73
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "What Happens After Disaster"

    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!

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dr Woo Space Coast FL 08-14-12
    Dr Woo Space Coast FL 08-14-12 Member Since 2007

    W H

    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    81
    17
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Reviews were right. Excellent story, done well."
    What made the experience of listening to The Dog Stars the most enjoyable?

    The 1st person narrative and the almost poetic descriptions and flowing rythm. The narrator was perfect for this book. A unique experience, I'll recommend to everyone and read again.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Obviously, Big Hig -- THE story.


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

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    My complaint is it was too short because it was over too soon. I was continually impressed by the poetic descriptions and deep personal points of view. I have never read Peter Heller's books and didn't know what to expect - I was completely satisfied with the choice. Bravo and thank you!

    11 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Johnnie Walker Blaine, WA 09-20-12
    Johnnie Walker Blaine, WA 09-20-12 Member Since 2016

    Black

    HELPFUL VOTES
    725
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    374
    83
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    44
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Pure Poetry"

    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.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill Kailua Kona, HI, United States 08-21-12
    Bill Kailua Kona, HI, United States 08-21-12 Member Since 2016

    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.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    533
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    223
    47
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    113
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Lost and Found in Post Apocalypse America"

    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!

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elle (AKA PlantCrone) in the great NorthWest OREGON 08-10-12

    ELLE aka PlantCrone of the Great Pacific Northwest. I enjoy almost every genre-S/F, Action, Biographies and Histories & Romance

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1596
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    357
    349
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    258
    51
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting-Different take on "end of the world.""

    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.



    15 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Somerville, MA, United States 12-05-15
    Ryan Somerville, MA, United States 12-05-15 Member Since 2005

    Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2515
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    370
    305
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    523
    14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Dog is my copilot"

    The pitch: It's nine years after a superflu has wiped out most of North America. Higg, one of the few survivors, has holed up in an airport in Colorado, where he maintains an 80-year-old Cessna (the book seems to take place in the mid-2030s). His only companions are a dog named Jasper and a heavily-armed misanthrope called Bangley, who's very skilled at shooting armed visitors before they realize what's going on (problem is, nearly everyone still alive in this world is armed in some way). Higg spends his days fishing and hunting with Jasper, the more emotionally available of his two friends, and flying perimeter patrols, during which he tries to warn away less-hostile-seeming visitors and occasionally drops in on a colony of Mennonites, who are all infected with some flu-related wasting disease.

    Not surprisingly, Higg feels a bit lonely and yearns for something more than just surviving, while Bangley seems content to be left alone and views all other people as threats, as he does Higg's social and humanitarian urges. And to be fair, many of those who come calling do seem to have predatory intentions. Yet, Higg is unable to forget a voice he heard on his radio while flying, and wonders who it was.

    For its first half, except for several bursts of hair-rising violence, this is a slow, quiet book, focused on its protagonist's feelings, memories, and existential doubts. There's stuff that anyone who's been through a traumatic experience involving the death of loved ones can relate to, and thoughts on how we create meaning by inventing small challenges for ourselves. Around the midway point of the novel, something happens that increases Higg's desire for contact, and he sets off in search of it, risks be damned. It's not much of a reveal to say that he finds other people, but after nine years of near solitude, he's somewhat forgotten how to relate to others and must relearn.

    The book's emotional tone is somewhat uneven and Heller can't seem to make up his mind whether people should act like the brutal gangs in Cormac McCarthy's The Road, or show an urge to cooperate and connect. While I'm sure that people like the former would exist after a devastating population collapse, I think there's a middle path between a policy of blowing the head off every stranger one sees and one of being victimized. I imagine that many others would have an inclination to reconnect, rebuild, and repopulate, especially after nine years. So, I wasn't convinced about some of the human drama here, especially not by some characters we meet near the end, whose motives seemed nonsensical. And a significant relationship that develops between Higg and another character felt like it was missing some weight.

    Still, I enjoyed this book and its meditations on aloneness of various kinds (I listened to a few chapters while XC skiing by myself in the woods, and it completely fit my mood). All in all, it's not hard to see The Dog Stars becoming one of those movies where there are long, dialogue-free stretches of simple action and landscape shots, accompanied only by swells of ambient music, and the weight of human solitude becomes felt.

    This might be one of those novels that works better in audiobook. Higgs often expresses himself in abbreviated sentences that I suspect might give some people trouble with the text, but they worked well in spoken form, not unlike listening to a somewhat rambling friend.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.