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The Dog Stars

by
3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  36,182 Ratings  ·  5,414 Reviews
What can I say to Bangley?

He has saved my bacon more times. Saving my bacon is his job. I have the plane, I am the eyes, he has the guns, he is the muscle.

He knows I know he knows: he can't fly, I don't have the stomach for killing. Any other way probably just be one of us.

Or none.
Audio CD, 10 pages
Published August 7th 2012 by Random House Audio (first published January 1st 2012)
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This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Ben Krombholz It's been a while since I read this book, but I thought it was implicit that going out onto the road was risky (marauders, etc.), so they took off…moreIt's been a while since I read this book, but I thought it was implicit that going out onto the road was risky (marauders, etc.), so they took off with everything they could in case Gramps didn't make it (and/or they wouldn't/couldn't land).

The author's explanation is fine, but it doesn't gel for me. Metaphors should extend from logical story elements, not purely contrived for their own sake.

Just my two cents.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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karen
Mar 29, 2013 karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-end

hey, amazon! you watchin' all these reviews now?? making sure they are all sunshiny five-star gushings that won't hurt the authors' feelings and cost you a sale?? making sure i don't drop any naughty words?

well, i can't five-star this book, so i guess i am writing this for nothing, and it might get deleted in the "every book is a winner" mentality of your book-worldview.

but i am gonna write it anyway, in the hopes that goodreads.com can still be the place it should be - where people can have opi
...more
Jeffrey Keeten
Aug 27, 2015 Jeffrey Keeten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: post-apocalyptic
“Meager as it is. Nothing to lose as I have. Nothing is something somehow.”

 photo DogStars_zps2c65e583.jpg

Hig doesn’t have much, but what he has is precious to him. He has his books of poetry. He has rivers to fish in. He has fuel to fly his plane. He has a furry co-pilot named Jasper. He has a garden. He has Bangley.

He used to have a wife. He used to have friends. He used to have the possibility of a long life full of happiness achieving all those things we are supposed to achieve.

He wasn’t supposed to be old at forty.

Th
...more
Penny
Mar 07, 2016 Penny rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
One star for this, only because I couldn't finish it. The writing style of this book drove me bat-shit crazy. In addition to no quotation marks AT ALL, here are a few examples of sentence composition.

"For the dog he said. Angry. Because I didn't do my job. To him."


"But."


"The way the landscape falls into place around the drainages, the capillaries and arteries of falling water: mountain slopes bunched and wrinkled, wringing themselves into furrows or couloir and creek, draw and chasm, the low pla
...more
Jana
Dec 03, 2013 Jana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
8/14/12: I heard the author read from this last night. I'm SO glad I made the effort to do so as he was fantastic. A little scary to begin a book with such high expectations, but I really feel good about this one. Here goes...

8/18/12: Best book of 2012? Very likely it will be for me.

The writing is very unique and takes a few pages to get used to, but it becomes so personal and powerful that I inhabited the world of Hig and his beloved dog, Jasper. I don't think I fully returned to reality during
...more
Ken
Jul 10, 2012 Ken rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Note: This review is of an ARC. The book is set for an Aug. 7th release.


If you liked Cormac McCarthy's THE ROAD, you're going to like Peter Heller's THE DOG STARS. If you did not like THE ROAD, you're still going to like THE DOG STARS.

Yes, Heller's book is reminiscent of McCarthy's, but you don't have to be a dystopia devotee to appreciate it. Why? Heller is a writer's writer with a talent for deft, descriptive strokes, for one, and his dystopian yin hasn't forgotten its utopian yang. Meaning: H
...more
Emily
Sep 21, 2012 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible-credit
I'm having trouble thinking of how to talk about this book without talking about the ending, which I think is a good thing, so I'll do my best to be spoiler-free while still addressing my main points about it. First, Hig and his dog are egregious self-inserts of the author and his dog, but somehow, this is one of the least obnoxious examples I've ever seen. Hig is both deeply flawed and deeply damaged by the events of nine years prior. In case you have any question that this may be the case, the ...more
Charlie Quimby
Feb 10, 2013 Charlie Quimby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't usually review books that have been reviewed to death. Better to find a worthy, unseen work and lift it up. But I'm making an exception for Peter Heller's The Dog Stars because I haven't seen a review yet that tapped into the thread it opened up for me.

Like Heller's main character Hig, flying over a flu-wasted Colorado looking for someone to connect with, I tried to find a review that spoke to this passage:

Still we are divided, there are cracks in the union. Over principle. His: Guilty u
...more
Kinga
Jul 01, 2013 Kinga rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My sister and I are like twins born four years apart. She is my best friend and I would give her both of my kidneys. Yet, it hasn't always been this way. There was a time that even though we still felt obliged to love each other, we found we had little in common. Four years can be a serious obstacle when you're a teenager. We also belonged to an entirely different social groups. My sister was more of a cheap wine, flannel shirts, suicidal rock singers kind of girl while I tended to find my solac ...more
Richard Derus
Rating: 3.5* of five

The Publisher Says: 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
...more
Jason
Aug 31, 2012 Jason rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-books, read-2012
5 Stars

I had originally only scored this post-apocalyptic read at 4 stars bought after having finished it two days ago, my fond recollections have changed my mind. This is a wonderful story and tale about a post-apocalyptic time when the world has been decimated due to an out of control flu and blood disease. Sure this has been done many times before, and it is a favorite genre of mine, but in this book The Dog Stars by Peter Heller, we are treated to a very unique point of view. You see Big Hig
...more
Stephanie
Sep 09, 2012 Stephanie rated it liked it
If this book didn't have a dog as one of the mian characters this would have been a three star for me.

Hig survives a super flu out break that kills off everyone he loves except for his dog Jasper and his airplane The Beast (which is also the name of an awesome roller coaster at Kings Island in Cincinnatti). He teams up with a man who is now a sociopath, but might not have always been before the shit hit the fan. They hold up at a small airport that they can protect with the help of a tower, a f
...more
Michael
I loved this debut novel, a spare and bittersweet story of survival in rural Colorado after a disease induced apocalypse. The strength in this tale lies in Heller’s portrayal of grief stricken Hig, who is continually balancing his lyrical introspections on finding meaning in his narrowed life and his cherishing of the beauty that remains.

Hig has been living a lonely life for nine years after an epidemic flu killed off most of humanity. He has settled at a remote airport north of Denver where the
...more
Tim
Jan 08, 2016 Tim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is like a Walt Disney version of The Road.

First of all, I’m going to nominate this for the worst sex writing award - “All those pieces. She moved. Her moving over me called them called them. The way a thousand fish rock together with the swell. Back and forth. The way the stars in the leaves. I reached. In her, in the very center, somewhere the single only stillness where everything cohered. Nothing but reach.”

It’s taken me a month to get through this relatively short book. Mainly this was
...more
J.T. Geissinger
Jul 06, 2013 J.T. Geissinger rated it it was amazing
SLIGHT SPOILERS!!

One of the best things about literary fiction is being held in thrall by the sheer power of an unusual voice. Sometimes a unique voice is disastrous but in Peter Heller's Dog Stars, I was swept away by the most powerful prose I've read in a very long time. Genuine and moving, this book manages to teach lessons about the true nature of human existence while simultaneously being very quiet and introverted.

Here's what I loved:

1. The character development is superb.

Even the dog, J
...more
Maciek
The Dog Stars is Peter Heller's debut novel, which was promoted on Amazon as their book of the month in August of 2012, and it gathered rave reviews from the critics and readers alike. That's exactly what got me into reading Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore - which I didn't think was all that good - but this one appealed to my tastes: I enjoy post-apocalyptic fiction, and thought that it could be a new and interesting addition to the genre which is now mostly populated by novels for young adults ...more
Joe Valdez
The next stop in my end-of-the-world reading marathon was The Dog Stars, the 2012 debut novel by Peter Heller, an author based in Denver. Heller's previous books documented a kayaking expedition in Nepal (Hell or High Water) and environmentalists battling Japanese commercial whalers off the coast of Antarctica (The Whale Warriors); these seem to have built a strong base to explore how an American male with above-average outdoors skills might fare come doomsday.

The story is narrated by Hig, a fo
...more
Tim Karasko
Apr 18, 2013 Tim Karasko rated it liked it
In the sub-genre of post-apocalyptic fiction the reader is left with a narrative mostly bleak, bare-boned, and animalistic; "happy endings" or "humanity" are typically cast aside for a much more gritty tale of survival, with the concept of "survival" used liberally as it seems more just dumb luck that the protagonist makes it to the end of his or her ordeal. In recent years Cormac McCarthy's The Road has been hailed as the best example of this form of fiction while in the past Neville Shute's On ...more
Melki
The flu killed almost everybody, then the blood disease killed more. The ones who are left are mostly Not Nice, why we live here on the plain, why I patrol every day.

I see that several reviewers are comparing this book to The Road, so I'll jump on that bandwagon for a bit. While Cormac McCarthy's book worried me, and gnawed at me, The Dog Stars kept me at arm's length. I would have had no trouble putting this book down and not returning to it for a month. Or ever. I was so removed from the pligh
...more
Jill
Jul 07, 2012 Jill rated it it was amazing
Ask me what books made the biggest impression on me in my childhood and one of my answers would be Nevil Shute’s On The Beach – an unforgettable vision of a post-apocalyptic world. In that book, Captain Towers hears a faint Morse code signal, transmitting from far away, and heads off on a tour of a ruined world, seeking life.

I suspect that Peter Heller is also familiar with On The Beach. His debut book, The Dog Stars, is simply masterful. Unlike other writers of this genre, who focus on the scie
...more
Franco  Santos
Se desplomó. Di un paso al frente para abrazarla. Pensé en dos árboles casi arrancados e inclinados el uno contra el otro.
Pesado, repetitivo, interminable, aburrido. La constelación del Perro consiste en viajes en avioneta, descripciones de la avioneta, descripciones de paisajes, caminar, más descripciones de la avioneta, más descripciones de paisajes... Literalmente no pasa nada en todo el libro, nada.

Como aspecto positivo puedo decir que tiene algunos pasajes que me encantaron, solo eso. Ah
...more
Dan
Feb 03, 2013 Dan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's strange. I heard a lot of good things about this book and picked it up from the library this week all without knowing what it was about, or that it has been compared to McCarthy's The Road or anything like that. I am not sure how that happened but I'm glad it did.

I have been searching for a book that is hard to put down. A book that kept me thinking about it when it was out of my hands. This book did exactly that.

There is a sort of terse style to the prose especially the dialogue that takes
...more
Jen
Feb 27, 2013 Jen rated it did not like it
Eh. I had a hard time getting past the writing style. I guess the flu that eradicated 99% of the world's population also killed sentences, paragraphs, and complete thoughts. Considering that the narrator mentioned several times how much he enjoyed poetry and would have liked to have been an English teacher, I think that the writing style Heller chose was not particularly effective.

As far as the plot -- I found the bleak, miserable post-apocalyptic future painted by Heller to be completely point
...more
Brandon
Jun 16, 2012 Brandon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Brandon by: Books On The Nighstand
The Dog Stars is a strange book in the sense that it has absolutely no right to be as good as it is. Not taking anything away from Peter Heller, the man is an accomplished non-fiction writer with countless best sellers. It’s just the fact that this is his first foray into the fiction realm is somewhat surprising. He crafts a well paced, interesting and fresh novel that exists in a genre that has been done to death.

9 years after the combination of a super-flu virus and a deadly blood disease wipe
...more
Gloria
Mar 22, 2016 Gloria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Last year, it took me until June to find a story which settled deeply and permanently into my soul-- one I knew I'd never forget (rare books, those.) (Sea Change-- if you're curious)

This year, it took until July.
And it was well worth the wait.

What do you get if you cross a post-apocalyptic Cormac McCarthy with the grittiness of a Thomas Cobb western?

A damned fine story which has one vicariously living the raspy, bare life left remaining to the narrator, Hig. A shell of what once was a flourishin
...more
Oscar
Han pasado casi nueve años desde que una pandemia acabó con el 99% de la población mundial. Hig, el narrador, ha conseguido sobrevivir, y ahora malvive junto a su perro Jasper, y Bangley, un tipo duro y áspero, en un recóndito lugar de Colorado. La vida de Hig es monótona, se dedica a su huerto, y a volar en su vieja avioneta, una Cessna, con Jasper de copiloto, vigilando el perímetro desde el aire. De vez en cuando son acosados por algunos supervivientes, pero Bangley se encarga de eliminar cua ...more
Mona
Apr 18, 2015 Mona rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lyrical and Lovely Post-Apocalyptic Novel



Peter Heller's The Dog Stars describes in spare and lyrical prose the sadness, grief, and joy of life in post-apocalypse America.

A virulent flu pandemic has wiped out most of the population. Many of the survivors are afflicted with organ damage or blood diseases.

Hig and his neighbor, Bangley, live in the vicinity of an airport (which they use, as Hig is a pilot and there's a working Cessna there). They defend what Bangley calls "the perimeter" and have ma
...more
Samantha Allen
Aug 27, 2012 Samantha Allen rated it it was amazing
This book is incredible in so many ways. A rare gem that will make your heart pound like a thriller and make your hair stand on end from the prose. Also rare in the fact that it's written in present tense, yet flows effortlessly. Though I'm a fan of the present tense it has a number of limitations, one of which being that it feels unfamiliar, since most people are used to reading in the past tense. But I hardly noticed it wasn't in past tense. I got about fifty pages in before I realized. That's ...more
Aaron Cance
Aug 22, 2012 Aaron Cance rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just when I had falsely assumed that Cormac McCarthy had given us the last word on the post-apocalyptic novel, along comes Peter Heller with something fresh. Written in an unusual, abridged stream of consciousness style format, Heller's prose is lean and muscular. His protagonist, Hig, (or "Big Hig") is a sensitive guy who has survived a nameless pandemic that has wiped away the better part of the world's population. Despite the fact that he's daily living in a combat zone, tenaciously guarded b ...more
Scott Rhee
Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" set the bar high for end-of-the-world elegiacal father-son novels, but Peter Heller's debut novel "The Dog Stars" certainly meets it and may even surpass it.

"The Dog Stars" doesn't read like a post-apocalyptic novel. That is, perhaps, its first saving grace. Unlike "The Road" which was dripping with utter sadness and hopelessness for the human race, Heller's novel almost seems, well, upbeat for a book about the years following a mutated flu pandemic that wipes out 9
...more
Jason
Aug 31, 2012 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2012
5 Stars

I had originally only scored this post-apocalyptic read at 4 stars bought after having finished it two days ago, my fond recollections have changed my mind. This is a wonderful story and tale about a post-apocalyptic time when the world has been decimated due to an out of control flu and blood disease. Sure this has been done many times before, and it is a favorite genre of mine, but in this book The Dog Stars by Peter Heller, we are treated to a very unique point of view. You see Big Hig
...more
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Peter Heller holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in both fiction and poetry. An award-winning adventure writer and 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 autho
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“Is it possible to love so desperately that life is unbearable? I don't mean unrequited, I mean being in the love. In the midst of it and desperate. Because knowing it will end, because everything does. End.” 95 likes
“Grief is an element. It has its own cycle like the carbon cycle, the nitrogen. It never diminishes not ever. It passes in and out of everything.” 75 likes
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