- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (May 7 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307950476
- ISBN-13: 978-0307950475
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 2 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 249 g
- Customer Reviews: 1,503 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #46,726 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Dog Stars Paperback – May 7 2013
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A San Francisco Chronicle and Atlantic Monthly Best Book of the Year
“Extraordinary. . . . One of those books that makes you happy for literature.” —Junot Díaz, The Wall Street Journal
“This end-of-the-world novel [is] more like a rapturous beginning. . . . Remarkable.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“For all those who thought Cormac McCarthy’s The Road the last word on the post-apocalyptic world—think again. . . . Make time and space for this savage, tender, brilliant book.” —Glen Duncan, author of The Last Werewolf
“Heart-wrenching and richly written. . . . The Dog Stars is a love story, but not just in the typical sense. It’s an ode to friendship between two men, a story of the strong bond between a human and a dog, and a reminder of what is worth living for.” —Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“A dreamy, postapocalyptic love letter to things of beauty, big and small.” –Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl
"Heartbreaking" —The Seattle Times
“A brilliant success.” —The New Yorker
“Beautifully written and morally challenging” –The Atlantic Monthly
“A book that rests easily on shelves with Dean Koontz, Jack London or Hemingway." —The Missourian
"Dark, poetic, and funny." —Jennifer Reese, NPR
“Terrific. . . . Recalling the bleakness of Cormac McCarthy and the trout-praising beauty of David James Duncan, The Dog Stars makes a compelling case that the wild world will survive the apocalypse just fine; it’s the humans who will have the heavy lifting.” —Outside
“A post-apocalyptic adventure novel with the soul of haiku.” —The Columbus Dispatch
“An elegy for a lost world turns suddenly into a paean to new possibilities. In The Dog Stars, Peter Heller serves up an insightful account of physical, mental, and spiritual survival unfolded in dramatic and often lyrical prose.” —The Boston Globe
“Take the sensibility of Hemingway. Or James Dickey. Place it in a world where a flu mutation has wiped out ninety-nine percent of the population. Add in a heartbroken man with a fishing rod, some guns, a small plane. Don’t forget the dog. Now imagine this man retains more hope than might be wise in such a battered and brutal time. More trust. More hunger for love—more capacity for it, too. That’s what Peter Heller has given us in his beautifully written first novel.” —Scott Smith, author of A Simple Plan and The Ruins
“With its evocative descriptions of hunting, fishing, and flying, [The Dog Stars], perhaps the world’s most poetic survival guide, reads as if Billy Collins had novelized one of George Romero’s zombie flicks.” —Publishers Weekly (starred)
“The Dog Stars can feel less like a 21st-century apocalypse and more like a 19th-century frontier narrative (albeit one in which many, many species have become extinct). There are echoes of Grizzly Adams or Jeremiah Johnson in scenes where Heller lingers on the details of how the water in a flowing stream changes color as the sun moves across the sky.” —The Dallas Morning News
“Full of action and hope…. One you’ll not soon forget.” — The Oklahoman
“A heavenly book, a stellar achievement by a debut novelist that manages to combine sparkling prose with truly memorable, shining, characters.” —The New York Journal of Books
“Gruff, tormented and inspirational, Heller has the astonishing ability to make you laugh, cringe and feel ridiculously vulnerable throughout the novel that will have you rereading certain passages with a hard lump in the pit of your stomach. One of the most powerful reads in years.” —Playboy
“The Dog Stars is a wholly compelling and deeply engaging debut.” —Pam Houston, author of Contents May Have Shifted
“Beautiful, haunting and hopeful. . . . Makes your breath catch and your heart ache.” —Aspen Daily News
“At times funny, at times thrilling, at times simply heartbreaking and always rich with a love of nature, The Dog Stars finds a peculiar poetry in deciding that there’s really no such thing as the end of the world—just a series of decisions about how we live in whatever world we’ve got.” —Salt Lake City Weekly
“What separates Heller’s book from other End of Days stories is that it doesn’t rely on the thematic fail-safes to tell the story—The Dog Stars is quite simply the story of what it’s like to be alonet.” —The Stranger
“Proves a truth we know from our everyday nonfictional lives: Even when it seems like all the humans in the world are only out for themselves, there are always those few who prove you absolutely wrong—in the most surprising of ways.” —Oprah.com
“Heller has created a heartbreakingly moving love story. . . . It’s an ode to what we’ve lost so far, and how we risk losing everything.” —Cincinnati City Beat
“A stunning, hope-riddled end-of-the-world story. . . . Bound to become a classic.” —Flavorwire
“Heller’s writing gives you a heartbreaking jolt, like a sudden wakening from a dream.” —The Seattle Times
“Heller is a masterful storyteller and The Dog Stars is a beautiful tribute to the resilience of nature and the relentless human drive to find meaning and deep connections with life and the living.” —Julianna Baggott, author of Pure
“Terrific . . . With echoes of Moby Dick, The Dog Stars . . . brings Melville’s broad, contemplative exploration of good and evil to his story.” —Shelf Awareness
“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 (starred)
About the Author
PETER HELLER is the best-selling author of three novels, including The Painter and Celine. He holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop in both fiction and poetry. An award-winning adventure writer and a longtime contributor to NPR, Heller is a contributing editor at Outside magazine, Men's Journal, and National Geographic Adventure, and a regular contributor to Bloomberg Businessweek. He is also the author of several nonfiction books, including Kook,The Whale Warriors, and Hell or High Water: Surviving Tibet's Tsangpo River. He lives in Denver, Colorado.
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I had a hard time with the writing style at first, it felt like a different language at times, I adapted lol! As soon as I finished I went back to page one and read it again, it was amazing!
I felt like I got to know Hig quickly and thoroughly, he wasn’t meant to survive but he had good luck and good “friends”.
I loved it
Top reviews from other countries
I would give this a solid 5 stars if it weren't for these 2 things...
The style of writing - it is really bad literature (I couldn't care less about things like this usually, but this is so obvious and annoying. It makes my failed gcse literature look really good lol), everything is in short sentences, without commas sometimes, and sometimes it feels like it just doesn't make sense... example "They were not even not pros. They were crouched together as one target at this distance one alone filled the scope, way more than filled it. They were farmers insurance men mechanics. Probably. Haplessly clustered. But. I shifted the scope, just the slightest pressure from the inside of my shoulder, and swept them and they had guns, each one."
I eventually stopped finding it as irratating once I imagined this is how the man, not the author talks.
The second thing, and this isn't much, is the constant references to different guns like saying guns are an AR-10.308, or M4 assault rifle etc. I know nothing about guns so don't know what they look like.
Despite these things, i really enjoyed it and think anyone into apocalyptic reads should not give this a miss.
First, it somehow manages to be genuinely life affirming. Often post-apocalyptic books just throw nasty stuff together to show how nasty the apocalypse would be and then the book ends. Job done. Heller weaves everything together to make sense. What seems like just a bunch of stuff happening to a guy waiting to die, actually forms a complete whole where our guy grows. One might even go so far as to say a novel. And a novel with a happy ending that makes you happy. If this sounds like I’m making a big deal out of nothing, then remember this is a book about the world ending. And what you do next.
Second, the important relationships don’t turn out to be the ones you think they are – or how you think they are – or… well, I guess I’m saying that the people and the relationships surprise you. The characters are much more complete than they initially seem to be, and that happens in a completely natural way. The lead character, who I found alienating on unlikeable, grows into something more alongside the people he meets, and one relationship in particular has turned on its head by the end of the book.
I still don’t really like the style and it still cuts a little too close to all the other post-apocalyptic novels out there (I’m aware there are plenty of people who like this much more than I) – this is no The Road. But it grows on you as it goes along, and it achieves something that genre rarely manages: it makes you feel better about the human race.
I approached this book with trepidation as I started, but after a couple of chapters I found myself being pulled into the world of 'Higs' present life and for the first time in a while, I became fascinated by the written-style. A style at first that is slightly difficult to comprehend but improves with time.
The less you know about the plot, the more impressive is the impact of the story. The basic necessities are that 'Higs' and Bangley have miraculously survived a virus that has reduced the world to a very low number of a population. But Higs knows how to fly a small aircraft and maybe because of this talent, he has a different perspective of the situation.
Peter Heller manages to convey a poetic approach to making this story work so well. This is a book to pay attention to, it's very carefully written and caused this particular reader to be in awe of a master of the written word. I adored this book and it makes it's valid points well throughout the story. Highly recommended.
At first I thought the ‘writing’ was strange - couldn’t get to grips with ‘is Hig speaking or thinking’, but it did not take long to get used to it and eventually I liked it - it’s refreshingly different.
It’s a great story, thought provoking, definitely a realistic scenario.
Believable-violence (not Hollywood Rambo), excellent humour (in the right places).
Money well spent, hope for a sequel, meanwhile I will try another of the authors books.
The story follows Hig, a 40-year-old who was once a husband and expectant father living a perfectly normal life but due to a flu and blood virus that wiped out 99% or the world’s population 9 years earlier, he is now a widower and hunter. He lives out his days living in an airplane hangar along with his Cessna plane, his beloved dog Jasper and his survivalist neighbour Bangley. They have enough food and stores to survive for as long as they want, with Hig doing the occasional ‘shopping’ trip in the plane, but Hig is haunted by a voice that he heard on the radio a few years previously. This leads him to want to find out who the owner of the voice is, what might have happened to them, and to the world beyond his narrow confines. One day, Hig decides to venture out in the plane to a point of no return to see what else has survived in the world. He knows that he may run out of fuel and never make it back to Bangley but he wants to make the trip.
The story is told from in the first person in a sparse style and as previous reviewers have said, the narration of the book takes some getting used to. It took me to until about 30% through the book before I really started to enjoy it. I had thoughts of giving up (which I hate to do) but I am so glad that I persevered. This really becomes a heart-warming story with moments of sadness and humour and once you get through the first 3rd of the book, it hooks you in.