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Publisher's Summary

A riveting, powerful novel about a pilot living in a world filled with loss - and what he is willing to risk to rediscover, against all odds, connection, love, and grace.
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.
©2012 Peter Heller (P)2012 Random House Audio
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Critic Reviews

"Richly evocative yet streamlined journal entries propel the high-stakes plot while simultaneously illuminating Hig's nuanced states of mind as isolation and constant vigilance exact their toll, along with his sorrow for the dying world.... 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)
"In the tradition of postapocalyptic literary fiction such as Cormac McCarthy's The Road and Jim Crace's The Pesthouse, this hypervisceral first novel by adventure writer Heller ( Kook) takes place nine years after a superflu has killed off much of mankind.... With its evocative descriptions of hunting, fishing, and flying, this novel, perhaps the world's most poetic survival guide, reads as if Billy Collins had novelized one of George Romero's zombie flicks. From start to finish, Heller carries the reader aloft on graceful prose, intense action, and deeply felt emotion." ( Publishers Weekly)
"Leave it to Peter Heller to imagine a post-apocalyptic world that contains as much loveliness as it does devastation. His likable hero, Hig, flies around what was once Colorado in his 1956 Cessna, chasing all the same things we chase in these pre-annihilation days: love, friendship, the solace of the natural world, the chance to perform some small kindness, and a good dog for a co-pilot. The Dog Stars is a wholly compelling and deeply engaging debut." (Pam Houston, author of Contents May Have Shifted)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Doug on 08-17-12

Stars Shine Bright

My reading list includes very few stories with post-apocalyptic settings. I have high regard for "On the Beach" and "Alas Babylon" but those were of another era. I wasn't sure I would enjoy "The Dog Stars." It was almost an impulse purchase.
I was very pleased with my purchase. Peter Heller has written a very well rounded novel. The overall melancholy and the episodes of violent encounters were there, as I expected, but it was the description of introspective thoughts and emotions which made the novel stand out for me.
Heller does an excellent job of introducing story threads into the novel and then following and expanding them with great attention to details and overall pacing of the tale. Nothing gets shoved into a corner or suddenly dropped in the next chapter.
Heller's writing of Hig's relationship with his dog Jasper touched me most of all, and a man's love for his dog is something that's as timeless as the constellations in the sky.

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24 of 27 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Mike Naka on 06-08-14

beautifully written and narrated!

What other book might you compare The Dog Stars to and why?

call me crazy, but i'd compare the beauty of the story to hemingway's the sun also rises.

What about Mark Deakins’s performance did you like?

the narration is spectacular! the narrator has a warm voice and is easy to listen to. his voice and reading add a haunting beauty to the story. his voices for higg and bangley are unique and match each character's disposition.

Any additional comments?


don't let the weird name of the book throw you off! the dog's stars is a beautifully written and narrated story! if you're a fan of dystopian stories, then this is a must listen!

the story is told in the first person by higg. he lives at an old country airport a few miles from the mountains. his only neighbor is bangley, a gruff survivalist. they are like an old married couple. there are very tense moments and some very funny moments. they are constantly sparring. higg is a free spirit while bangley is a stickler about following rules and protocols. together, they monitor the 8 square miles surrounding the airport.

higg flies his cessna around the property, looking for threats as bangley monitors the grounds from his sniper position. higg is the eyes, and bangley is the muscle.

i love dogs, and i love a good story about a dog. higg has a dog named jasper, who is a character in his own right. the author did an excellent job weaving the companionship and loyalty a dog can provide and display into this story.

i give this audio book my highest recommendation! there is only one caveat to this story- how and when you listen to it. you will probably want to listen to this when you have the time to devote your full attention to it. trust me, it is well worth it!

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11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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