The Dog Stars

The Dog Stars

Book - 2012
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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.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, Vintage Contemporaries, 2012
ISBN: 9780307959942
0307959945
9780307950475
0307950476
Characteristics: 319 p. ; 22 cm
Call Number: HELLER, P

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From Library Staff

A beautifully written story about the aftermath of a flu pandemic.

List - Night Readers
DCLbookclubs Oct 18, 2016

Discussion on January 14, 2020.

Heller continues to give us so many wonderful novels, including his most recent, "The River." This was his first, published in 2012, about the aftermath of a global flu pandemic.


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CCPL_Carly Feb 03, 2020

Author Peter Heller has crafted believable, deeply-damaged characters that still elicit sympathy from readers, in spite of the cold-blooded killing required for them to safely exist in a dangerous world. The story shifts from beautifully descriptive scenes of nature, to heart-pounding suspense, to raw, emotional grief as Hig finds a way to carry on without any meaningful human connection. While sounding bleak, this is far from the average post-apocalyptic novel. Its striking prose in the form of Hig's internal dialogue lends insight into the inner struggles of grief and loss, making it a very affecting version of man in the midst of civilization's decay.

t
theojones41
Nov 22, 2019

Interesting apocalypse story of an epidemic that has wiped out about 98% of the population. Main character lives on an acreage with one other survivor and they share patrol duties to fend off mauraders. He is a lonely pilot with a small plane and he and his dog can occassionally venture out to explore and look for other survivors. Satisfying ending.

ArapahoeAnnaL Aug 05, 2019

If you don't already treasure our beautiful planet you will after reading this post-apocalypse story narrated by a man who longs for the lush forests, cold streams, and healthy trout of the time before.

e
EljayJohnson
Jul 14, 2019

I read enough dystopia and thought that between The Road and Blindness it had all been said, but then Heller does something fresh. I liked the stream of consciousness-type writing and the truncated sentencing, I liked the protagonist Big Hig, I liked where the plot went and how it got there. All of the traits Heller imbued in Hig - his cluelessness, his yearning, his despair, his denial, his wisdom, his guilt - all made perfect sense. Then there's Jasper. Loved him as a Symbol, loved him as a Dog.

ArapahoeMaryA Apr 11, 2019

I re-read this story of post-apocalyptic America told in poetic, fragmented prose to refresh my memory. Yes, I still like this book – because of and in spite of Heller’s unique style. Oddly, the love scenes did not resonate, but the love between a man and his dog tugged mightily at my heartstrings.

f
feralranger
Mar 15, 2019

Do not let the guns and gore steer you away from this exceptional post-apocalyptic tale of a world trying to make a comeback from a flu pandemic.

A man (Hig) hears a radio transmission. He know there are other people alive somewhere besides himself and his beloved dog, Jasper. Will he fly his 1956 Cessna to the point of no return to find them?

At its core, it is really about humanity, love and loyalty.

One of the best books I will ever read in my lifetime.

k
kkirby221
Jan 21, 2019

Excellent story. Writing is a bit ragged and hard to get use to. Probably should read a second time to pick up the nuances. Would recommend the book.

2
21221018293347
Oct 13, 2018

Other readers have a LOT to say. There is not too much that I can add to those wonderful appraisals. I have not enjoyed a book this much in a long time. It is very different than most apocalyptic books. This is the story of the human spirit, 9 years after the decimation of most of the world's population. When you lose the very last of those you love, what do you do?

a
angelamuliu
Jan 27, 2018

Interesting that I saw others say they enjoyed the first 200 pages or so - that part of the book was, to me, a slow slog that could have easily been half its length. It boils down to a cycle of 1) something bad happens, 2) main character goes fishing, 3) hikes/hunts, and then 4) a little progress is made talking to half-friend half-protector Bangley. Rinse and repeat.
I can see why the author would chose to do this. It's in line with the theme of the book. When is life worth living? How can you move on from trauma - do you really? But I personally found this section stretched thin.
The last third of the book takes a much different pace. After reading about the main character's routine for so long, this change is more strongly felt.

c
capitalcity
May 10, 2017

The author fluidly assesses the intrinsic worth of a person's life and the accompanying notion of when is living worthwhile. The Dog Stars reads as an individual's (Hig's) daily profit and loss ledger statement, presented in the form of a forensically detailed, introspectively interlaced, play-by-play. Heller engenders a melancholy atmosphere, subtly pervaded by a continual sense of chance, possibility, and at times, inevitability. Post apocalypse scenarios are difficult situations for sustaining credibility vis-à-vis a typically normal, average existence. Heller succeeds by setting up and maintaining an austere, matter of fact, framework throughout.

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ArapahoeMaryA Apr 11, 2019

You can't metabolize the loss. It is in the cells of your face, your chest, behind the eyes, in the twists of your gut. Muscle, sinew, bone. It is all of you. When you walk you propel it forward....Then it sits with you. The pain puts its arm over your shoulders. It is your closest friend, steadfast. And at night you can't bear to hear your own breath, unaccompanied by another. And underneath the big stillness like a score, is the roaring of the cataract of everything being and being torn away.

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.

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