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The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

The Dog Stars (edition 2012)

by Peter Heller

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,3371095,794 (3.94)184
Title:The Dog Stars
Authors:Peter Heller
Info:Knopf (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

  1. 40
    Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank (benjclark)
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    Earth Abides by George R. Stewart (amysisson, IamAleem)
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    The Road by Cormac McCarthy (IamAleem)
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    The Pesthouse by Jim Crace (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Spare prose and unexpectedly moving romances characterize these post-apocalyptic novels, set in bleak futures in which humanity has been decimated by horrible diseases.
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    The Stand by Stephen King (labrick)
    labrick: Both about a pandemic and colorado is the setting for both, although The Stand has elements of the paranormal.
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    Peace Like a River by Leif Enger (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: A meditative tale of post-apocalyptic survival and a spiritual chronicle of murder, conviction, and pursuit share lyrical writing propelling their characters' journeys. The books' tones, dark and low-key, involve readers emotionally in their respective messages of the importance of family.… (more)

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» See also 184 mentions

English (107)  Spanish (1)  All languages (108)
Showing 1-5 of 107 (next | show all)
I was wandering around Goodreads a couple weeks ago, stumbled across a group Apocalypse Whenever. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman was being discussed. It really is the best book ever written. Wonderful, sad, uplifting. A tale of friendship and loneliness and wonder. A pure joy to read.

There's a side bar on Goodreads threads, lists what books have been mentioned in the thread. The Dog Stars was one such book. I clicked on the link and saw they compared the writing a little to Gaiman's. As Neil Gaiman is the a literary master with no equal I decided to give it a try. Looked on Overdrive, and there it was.

This book is...well it's beautiful. Absolute first book I've read that I can say that about. It's a stream of consciousness style, in a poetic way that has forced me to buy the book next time I'm at book store. I want to have the book in my hands, to read, and to study as I have done with American Gods.

The writing is unreal. I don't really know how to describe it.

Describing The Dog Stars is like describing poetry. I'm not a poet. I don't know where to begin when going over poetry. I know what I like with poetry. I like John Keats works, he tells a story with poetry. The Dog Stars is like John Keats. Not really. Both poets tell a story, but Heller's work is more current. Modern.

The writing is beautiful. There's a part with Hig's dog, Hig is the main character, I damn near teared up reading it. The way he writes the words is powerful.

If you ever wondered what type of power words have in a fictional story, then The Dog Stars is the book you want to read. You will be right there with Hig as he goes through loss, and you'll experience beauty through it. He describes a world of desolation, violence, horror and loneliness. To say the way the book is written is beauty stands in stark contrast to the content of the book. Yet there it is. Desolation described with beauty.

Read it. I don't know how anyone could not like the book.

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I did the book a disservice by attempting to write in the same style, but I feel compelled to try. I think it would be a joy to write an entire science fiction book in the same style. ( )
  scifi_jon | Jun 16, 2015 |
Heller's prose is elegant and contemplative but I didn't find the narrative of this post-apocalyptic tale all that engrossing though it is consistenly moving. ( )
  Sullywriter | May 22, 2015 |
The Dog Stars is really a stylised book full of interesting characters and quirks. Peter Heller's novel is a story of a pilot Hig’s who has survived a pandemic flu that has killed off most of the world’s population. He’s lot his wife and is living in a hangar of an abandoned airfield with his dog and his only neighbour is a misanthrope. He is now living in a world filled with loss, what will he risk to rediscover himself and reconnect with other survivors? Will he go against all odds just to make a connection?

This book has an interesting blend of literary fiction and dystopian adventure, it reminds me a little of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road in that aspect. The characters are great in the book, with their flaws and interesting personalities. I think Peter Haller did a great job with the characters. The book at times tends to be dark and gritty which works well with the sense of the end of the world and the violence that would assume such an event. But then at times the book seems over descriptive and sometimes feels too flowery and nice which never really seemed to match this dystopian novel.

There are so many great elements in this book but there are other aspects of the book that didn’t work for me. My main problem with the narrative; it felt almost experimental, trying to do something that didn’t quite work for this style of book. It is written in a first person perspective but also written in a past tense, so you have a feeling that everything will be ok and no sense of tension throughout the novel. At times the sentence feels broken and disjointed, I’m not sure if this is an attempt to show that the narrator is unreliable but I don’t think it worked too well in this kind of novel.

The Dog Stars is a remarkably unique novel and there are some great aspects of this novel to sink your teeth into. It was a captivating and enjoyable ride; even if I had issues with the narrative and at times felt bored with the story. The characters in the novel were definitely the highlight of this book but the adventure was helped move the plot along. Personally if I compare this book with Cormac McCarthy’s book The Road, I would recommend it over The Dog Stars, but this doesn’t mean you should overlook this novel. ( )
  knowledge_lost | Apr 27, 2015 |
After a catastrophic illness kills off almost all of the population, only a few survivors are left to try to make it in a world without electricity and dwindling resources. Higs, his dog Jasper, and Bangley live on the property of an abandoned airport in Colorado. Higs is a pilot and able to fly his plane to keep a watch on their area, as they live under constant threat of attack. Bangley is obsessed with weapons and is a little too happy to kill off anyone who wanders onto the property. Due to Bangley's apparent sociopathic tendencies, Higs relies heavily on Jasper for companionship. After a series of life-changing events, Higs questions whether he should leave the property in search of others, which he ultimately decides to do, changing the course of the story and adding suspense to the plot.

I really enjoyed this novel, much more than I thought I would after I first started it. At first, the stilted writing style put me off and made me think it was a "guy's novel" full of weapons and manliness. However, Higs is a wonderfully warm and funny character and I found myself identifying with him and his losses. I initially sought out this book after the writer of "Station Eleven" referenced it in her work and I was not disappointed. This is rich story in an apocalyptic setting that explores how life might go on and what it takes to make living worthwhile. I highly recommend this book! ( )
  voracious | Apr 27, 2015 |
Enjoyed this book immensely. In a post-apocalyptic world, despite all the grief and upending of normal assumptions, an individual must go on living. Hig, the protagonist, stands between two polarities in this book--a group of Mennonites he occasionally helps, who have kept to their high moral principles and are dying, and a survivalist-friend, Bangley, who trusts no one who comes within sniper range. In the middle, with his plane and his dog, Hig copes and does what he has to do. He feels like a real Everyman, and the reader is led to ask what he would do if he were in Hig's place. ( )
1 vote kvrfan | Apr 25, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 107 (next | show all)
Heller's writing is stripped-down and minimalist, like a studio apartment in Sparta. It's an Armageddon book as written by Ernest Hemingway. The future is spare. If you see an adjective, kill it.
added by WeeklyAlibi | editWeekly Alibi, John Bear (Jul 26, 2012)

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Peter Hellerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Deakins, MarkNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I keep the Beast running, I keep the 100 low lead on tap, I foresee attacks.
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Book description
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.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0307959945, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, August 2012: Adventure writer Peter Heller’s The Dog Stars is a first novel set in Colorado after a superflu has culled most of humanity. A man named Hig lives in a former airport community—McMansions built along the edge of a runway—which he shares with his 1956 Cessna, his dog, and a slightly untrustworthy survivalist. He spends his days flying the perimeter, looking out for intruders and thinking about the things he’s lost—his deceased wife, the nearly extinct trout he loved to fish. When a distant beacon sparks in him the realization that something better might be out there, it’s only a matter of time before he goes searching. Poetic, thoughtful, transformative, this novel is a rare combination of the literary and highly readable. --Chris Schluep

Amazon Exclusive: Author Peter Heller on the Star of The Dog Stars

Jasper the Blue Heeler Mix
The inspiration for Jasper, a Blue Heeler mix, who is an integral part of this novel.

Our Hero, Hig, lives at a little country airstrip which he shares with his beloved blue heeler Jasper, and a mean gun nut named Bangley. It's nine years after a super-flu has killed 99.7% of the people on the planet. Hig sleeps out under the open sky at night with Jasper. He does it because he loves to see the stars, and because it's safer: if marauders come he won't be trapped in one of the nearby houses.

He used to have a book of the stars, but now he doesn't, so when he's lying out at night he makes up constellations. Mostly they are animals, and he makes one for his best friend Jasper. The Dog Stars. It's Hig's way of reinventing the lost world, and keeping in touch with the things he loves.

Jasper, to me, is the star of the book. He is fiercely loyal, and he gives Hig something to live for when there is not much else to hold on to.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:49 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Surviving a pandemic disease that has killed everyone he knows, a pilot establishes a shelter in an abandoned airport hangar before hearing a random radio transmission that compels him to risk his life to seek out other survivors.

(summary from another edition)

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