Peter Heller is an acclaimed adventure writer, but The Dog Stars is his debut fiction effort.
Hig is one of the few who survived the flu that devastated the earth. He also escaped the blood sickness that followed. Not many did - Hig's wife and unborn child perished. His dog Jasper survived.
And now, Hig, a pilot, lives in an airport hangar with Jasper and a weapons obsessed loner named Bangley. Hig flies the perimeter of their staked claim every day, ready to defend against all intruders. But, what if it isn't enough to just be safe. Isn't there more to being alive? Once, about seven years into this new world, Hig heard another voice on the airplane radio - just briefly. And that staticky voice stays with him - until he decides to leave and fly until the point of no return.....however far the gas tank on the plane will take him.
I love post apocalyptic fiction and Heller has done a fantastic job with his imagined outcome. Heller's novel explores what it takes to stay alive and what physical lengths his characters will go to. But, it is much more than that. Heller also explores the emotions of the few characters that populate his novels - grief, sadness, loneliness, hope, joy and what it means to be human.
I chose to listen to The Dog Stars. The reader was Mark Deakins. I've listened to him before and he was somewhat 'overdone' in his interpretation. This time he was a perfect choice. His voice reflected all the emotions of the writing. Heller chose a first person narrative style that absolutely worked for the audio version. I think some of the short, fragmented sentences would have annoyed me on paper. But, in the audio version they simply seemed like an extension of Hig's thoughts. Listen to an excerpt of The Dog Stars.
If you liked The Road, you'll love The Dog Stars. Not as bleak, but just as moving. And a testament to the human spirit. Read an excerpt of The Dog Stars.