Title: The Dog Stars
Author: Peter Heller
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday
Publication Date: 7 August 2012
Format: E-Book -EPUB
Genre: Literary Fiction
Source: ARC from NetGalley
A riveting, powerful debut novel from an award-winning adventure writer: the story of a pilot surviving in a world filled with loss—and of 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 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. (Goodreads Synopsis)
This is a really enjoyable read and differs from many post-apocalyptic tales in that it remains down to earth, focusing on the more mundane aspects of survival rather than a major dramatic element.
The reader is instantly drawn into Hig's world thanks to a compelling narrative that at times borders on stream of consciousness. Hig doesn't always think in complete sentences, his thoughts are scattered, ever changing, and that really adds to the sense of reality in the piece.
The reader shares his moral dilemmas and indecision, but we also share his joys and small pleasures. There is plenty of sadness in this book, but there are uplifting moments too. All in all, it is a commentary on the human spirit and how it faces adversity.
This is a great read for those looking for something more thought-provoking than killer zombies in their post-apocalyptic dramas. The Dog Stars is an amazing debut and I certainly hope to see more from this author in the future.