The Dog Stars by Peter Heller-320 pages
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.
My Review: 3.5 stars
Odd that in the same month I’d read two books that are told in a stream of consciousness narration. This one took me longer to get into and I found myself skimming to grab the points of his message. Seriously, it is the punctuation or lack thereof in this type of writing that is hard to follow.
Realizing that his mostly solitary life has caused him to not realize whether he’s thinking or talking aloud made it read a little easier. Very few survived this pandemic and almost everyone perished. His steadfast companion and co-pilot was a sleepy old dog named Jasper as well as a hardened, often crazed, weaponry specialist/secret farmer. Together the threesome managed a life together until the our narrator chose to fly until the point of no return. On his journey there, he meets some other survivors and the plot picks up quite a bit. Throughout the book we read a lot about animals, nature, guns, fishing and flying; it’s really all they have to talk about. This is a different book but a true look at humanity and survival.
Quotes I liked:
- “So that’s how the bargain was struck. Without even a negotiation. No words but that. I flew. He killed. Jasper growled. We let each other be.”
- “Why don’t we have a word for the utterance between laughing and crying?”
- “The difference maybe between the living and the dead: the living often want to be numb the dead never do, if they never want anything.”
- “Corny, huh? Not really. Magical. I mean to watch a person let go of something and flower.”
-Tags: 2012, Fiction, Dystopian, Science Fiction
Labels: 2012, Dystopian, Fiction, Science Fiction