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The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
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The Dog Stars (edition 2012)

by Peter Heller

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1,2521026,326 (3.94)175
Member:47degreesnorth
Title:The Dog Stars
Authors:Peter Heller
Info:Knopf (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Read, Read 2013 (inactive), Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:None

Work details

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

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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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    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 175 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 101 (next | show all)
A 2.5 star rating, nearly a 3.0 rating. As with other reviewers, my overall impression may improve upon digestion... It was better than okay, but I am not certain who I would recommend this book to as it is written weirdly (lacking helpful punctuation). Many other reviewers are comparing this book to The Road by Cormac McCarthy. When I began reading this, I saw the similarities immediately, as well. I didn't care for The Road initially, actually, not until my book club came together to discuss the book, and then I acquired a greater appreciation for it. I read this book because it was a book club selection, too. And I suspect discussing this book with others will improve my opinion about it.

Heller took the time to help the reader to better know his characters, though much of the past is revealed slowly and, in many portions of their live previous the pandemic, indirectly, rarely coming out directly with info (about spouses, about professions, about family lost...)

( )
  olongbourn | Mar 1, 2015 |
This is a post apocalyptic book, but unlike any I have ever read. The narrative is so different. Very non-traditional. It took a little bit to get used to. It's unique & poetic. The story centers around Hig & his dog Jasper. Well for the first half it does. I don't like to give any of the story away in any of my reviews so I will stop there. I just like to (try to!) convey the impression the book leaves me with. There is devastation but there is beauty as well. I found it to be a very powerful read. It was not a book I could "devour". I instead savored it. Read some & then had to let it soak in. I even dreamt of parts of it. Before I read the book I had read a review that described it as an intimate read. That's spot on. It was suspenseful in parts and it was harsh. But that harshness was always (for me anyway) balanced with the right amount of nostalgia & tenderness. I loved it. Obviously because I gave it 5 stars. It's been awhile since I gave a book 5 stars. Highly recommend. ( )
  michele.juza | Feb 25, 2015 |
So I wonder what it is this need to tell. To animate somehow the deathly stillness of the profoundest beauty. Breathe life in the telling. Counter I guess to Bangley’s modus which is to kill just about everything that moves. - from Dog Stars, page 52 –

The world is not the same. A flu has wiped out 99 percent of all humans. The few remaining are fighting (quite literally) for survival. Enter Hig, a man who has lost his wife and unborn child and now lives in an abandoned hanger with his dog, Jasper, and a rough, gun toting survivalist named Bangley. Hig’s biggest joy is taking flight in a 1956 Cessna with his dog by his side. He loves breaking free of the confines of the airport. When he is not flying, he longs to walk into the forest and fish and hunt. But danger is everywhere. Hig never loses hope that there is more out there – love, friendship and the nature he so misses. So one day, he takes off in the Cessna and flies to the point of no return to try and discover a life he misses beyond all else.

Peter Heller has penned a spare, first person narrative about nature vs. technology, survival, memory and love. Hig is a character who reels the reader into his grief and loneliness…and then shows her there is still hope.

This novel is not simply a post-apocalyptic novel. Heller’s astute observations of nature and his poetic introspection into his characters elevate this book to a thoughtful, heartbreaking literary work. Hig mines his emotional territory with reflections of the past and the memories of those who died. His relationship with Jasper is one of the best parts of the book and demonstrates how love (no matter where it comes) can lift one up and give meaning to life.

The Dog Stars is one of the best books I read in 2014 – calamity, desperation…and finally a burst of hope that promises new beginnings. Tender, brilliantly penned, and a reminder that connection to others is what the world is all about, this is a novel that will appeal to readers who love great characters and literary fiction.

Highly recommended. ( )
  writestuff | Feb 6, 2015 |
I would give this 3.5 stars, if I could. Parts of this book are just so beautifully written, and parts dragged on a bit. ( )
  carebear10712 | Dec 31, 2014 |
I loved this story about starting again in a new world. There's joy and heartbreak, excitement and serenity. I liked Hig's interactions with Bangley and especially with his dog Jasper. ( )
  krin5292 | Nov 30, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 101 (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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:06:34 -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)

» see all 7 descriptions

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