Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Dog Stars

The Dog Stars
by Peter Heller
2012 Knopf
Rating 5/5

      A poetic post-apocalyptic story? This is it! This debut novel by Peter Heller is set in the Rocky Mountains after a super-flu epidemic has killed off almost everyone, This is an amazing mixture of poetic reflection, beautiful writing about nature & some amazing intense action. The hero, Hig, is an amateur pilot, who maintains the perimeter by flying patrol in his aging Cessna with his faithful dog, Jasper. His partner in survival is Bangley, a former neighbor who is a survivalist and weapons expert.
     After a hunting trip that goes bad, Hig, takes off an a mission to find a mysterious voice he heard on the radio years before. The book really takes off here and Hig's life changes profoundly. At times, "The Dog Stars" is every bit as depressing as McCarthy's "The Road", but there is a sense of hopefulness that makes this a joy to read. This is a book that makes me want to go fishing and to learn how to fly a plane. It is also a  book that I wanted to go on long after I finished reading it.
     Part of my favorite review of the book - "In the midst of all the devastation, Heller shows us the stunning beauty of the natural world. The pages of “The Dog Stars” are damp with grief for what is lost and can never be recovered. But there are moments of unexpected happiness, of real human interaction, infused with love and hope, like the twinkling of a star we might wish upon, which makes this end-of-the-world novel more like a rapturous beginning.” – San Francisco Chronicle.