Ian Mcclintock's Reviews > The Dog Stars

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
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's review
Sep 07, 2012

it was amazing
Read from September 03 to 07, 2012

There's a certain grim realism to the way even the most basic everyday tasks, including defending oneself, are laden with difficulty and peril in the post apocalyptic world of The Dog Stars. And it's this grim realism that make the little victories that much more significant, and makes Hig's adventure that much more monumental.

Hig is, to me, a believable and likable character. He's a good man, who knows how to handle himself, and I like that somewhere deep down he refuses to fall to the savagery the the rest of the country has. Throughout the book he demonstrates that at heart he's peaceful, a romantic, but this is balanced by his willingness to do what needs to be done to survive. He will and does kill people in this wasteland, and doesn't let his tenderness get in the way, but clearly has no taste for it. It's this balance that I found to be compelling and realistic.

Conversely, the way the rest of humanity is depicted is at the same time frustrating and to be expected. With few exceptions, everyone is out for their own survival, ready to kill Hig and take what they can from him without a second thought. It's frustrating to know how Hig misses human contact besides his gun-nut partner, and then have his few interactions involve bullets and slaughter. But then, what are we to expect, given the world that's been established?

It's a post-apocalyptic story with a heart, written in the vein of Cormac McCarthy. Probably one of my favorite books I've read lately, and I'd strongly recommend it to anyone who likes this genre.

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Quotes Ian Liked

Peter Heller
“He's getting old. I don't count the years. I don't multiply by seven. They bred dogs for everything else, even diving for fish, why didn't they breed them to live longer, to live as long as a man?”
Peter Heller, The Dog Stars

Reading Progress

8.0% "Very Cormac McCarthy-ish, but I like it so far. I'm a sucker for post apocalyptic settings."
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