The Dog Stars By Peter Heller

The Dog Stars
The Dog Stars

Book Details

detailsdetail
Book NameThe Dog Stars
AuthorPeter Heller
Item Weight 8.8 ounces
Hardcover336 pages
ISBN-100307950476
ISBN-13978-0307950475
Product Dimensions5.2 x 0.73 x 8 inches
PublisherVintage; Reprint Edition (May 7, 2013)
LanguageEnglish
Best Sellers Rank#23,718 in Books
#321 in Dystopian Fiction
#561 in Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction
#2,519 in Literary Fiction

Book Preview

I keep the Beast running, I keep the 100 low lead on tap, I foresee attacks. I am young enough, I am old enough. I used to love to fish for trout more than almost anything.

My name is Hig, one name. Big Hig if you need another.

If I ever woke up crying in the middle of a dream, and I’m not saying I did, it’s because the trout are gone every one. Brookies, rainbows, browns, cutthroats, cut bows, everyone.

The tiger left, the elephant, the apes, the baboon, the cheetah. The titmouse, the frigate bird, the pelican (gray), the whale (gray), the collared dove. Sad but. Didn’t cry until the last trout swam upriver looking for maybe cooler water.

Melissa, my wife, was an old hippy. Not that old. She looked good. In this story she might have been Eve, but I’m not Adam. I am more like Cain. They didn’t have a brother like me.

Did you ever read the Bible? I mean sit down and read it like it was a book? Check out Lamentations. That’s where we’re at, pretty much. Pretty much lamenting. Pretty much pouring our hearts out like water.

They said in the end it would get colder after it gets warmer. Way colder. Still waiting. She’s a surprise this old earth, one big surprise after another since before she separated from the moon who circles and circles like the mate of a shot goose.

No more geese. A few. Last October I heard the old bleating after dusk and saw them, five against the cold blood washed blue over the ridge. Five all fall, I think, next April none.

I hand pump the 100 low lead aviation gas out of the old airport tank when the sun is not shining, and I have the truck too that was making the fuel delivery. More fuel than the Beast can burn in my lifetime if I keep my sorties local, which I plan to, I have to. She’s a small plane, a 1956 Cessna 182, really a beaut. Cream and blue. I’m figuring I’m dead before the Beast gives up the final ghost. I will buy the farm. Eighty acres of bottomland hay and corn in a country where there is still a cold stream coming out of the purple mountains full of brookies and cuts.

Before that, I will make my roundtrips. Out and back.

Editorial Reviews

Review

San Francisco Chronicle and Atlantic Monthly Best Book of the Year

“Extraordinary. . . . One of those books that make you happy for literature.” —Junot Díaz, The Wall Street Journal

“This end-of-the-world novel [is] more like a rapturous beginning. . . . Remarkable.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“For all those who thought Cormac McCarthy’s The Road the last word on the post-apocalyptic world—think again. . . . Make time and space for this savage, tender, brilliant book.” —Glen Duncan, author of The Last Werewolf

“Heart-wrenching and richly written. . . . The Dog Stars is a love story, but not just in the typical sense. It’s an ode to friendship between two men, a story of the strong bond between a human and a dog, and a reminder of what is worth living for.” —Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“A dreamy, postapocalyptic love letter to things of beauty, big and small.” –Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl

“Heartbreaking” —The Seattle Times

“A brilliant success.” —The New Yorker

“Beautifully written and morally challenging” –The Atlantic Monthly

“A book that rests easily on shelves with Dean Koontz, Jack London or Hemingway.” —The Missourian

“Dark, poetic, and funny.” —Jennifer Reese, NPR

“Terrific. . . . Recalling the bleakness of Cormac McCarthy and the trout-praising beauty of David James Duncan, The Dog Stars makes a compelling case that the wild world will survive the apocalypse just fine; it’s the humans who will have the heavy lifting.” —Outside

“A post-apocalyptic adventure novel with the soul of haiku.” —The Columbus Dispatch
“An elegy for a lost world turns suddenly into a paean to new possibilities. In The Dog Stars, Peter Heller serves up an insightful account of physical, mental, and spiritual survival unfolded in dramatic and often lyrical prose.” —The Boston Globe

“Take the sensibility of Hemingway.  Or James Dickey.  Place it in a world where a flu mutation has wiped out ninety-nine percent of the population. Add in a heartbroken man with a fishing rod, some guns, a small plane. Don’t forget the dog. Now imagine this man retains more hope than might be wise in such a battered and brutal time. More trust. More hunger for love—more capacity for it, too. That’s what Peter Heller has given us in his beautifully written first novel.” —Scott Smith, author of A Simple Plan and The Ruins

“With its evocative descriptions of hunting, fishing, and flying, [The Dog Stars], perhaps the world’s most poetic survival guide, reads as if Billy Collins had novelized one of George Romero’s zombie flicks.” —Publishers Weekly (starred)

The Dog Stars can feel less like a 21st-century apocalypse and more like a 19th-century frontier narrative (albeit one in which many, many species have become extinct). There are echoes of Grizzly Adams or Jeremiah Johnson in scenes where Heller lingers on the details of how the water in a flowing stream changes color as the sun moves across the sky.” —The Dallas Morning News

“Full of action and hope…. One you’ll not soon forget.” — The Oklahoman

“A heavenly book, a stellar achievement by a debut novelist that manages to combine sparkling prose with truly memorable, shining, characters.” —The New York Journal of Books

“Gruff, tormented and inspirational, Heller has the astonishing ability to make you laugh, cringe and feel ridiculously vulnerable throughout the novel that will have you rereading certain passages with a hard lump in the pit of your stomach. One of the most powerful reads in years.” —Playboy

The Dog Stars is a wholly compelling and deeply engaging debut.” —Pam Houston, author of Contents May Have Shifted

“Beautiful, haunting and hopeful. . . . Makes your breath catch and your heartache.” —Aspen Daily News

“At times funny, at times thrilling, at times simply heartbreaking and always rich with a love of nature, The Dog Stars finds peculiar poetry in deciding that there’s really no such thing as the end of the world—just a series of decisions about how we live in whatever world we’ve got.” —Salt Lake City Weekly

“What separates Heller’s book from other End of Days stories is that it doesn’t rely on the thematic fail-safes to tell the story—The Dog Stars is quite simply the story of what it’s like to be alone.” —The Stranger

“Proves a truth we know from our everyday nonfictional lives: Even when it seems like all the humans in the world are only out for themselves, there are always those few who prove you absolutely wrong—in the most surprising of ways.” —Oprah.com

“Heller has created a heartbreakingly moving love story. . . . It’s an ode to what we’ve lost so far, and how we risk losing everything.” —Cincinnati City Beat

“A stunning, hope-riddled end-of-the-world story. . . . Bound to become a classic.” —Flavorwire

“Heller’s writing gives you a heartbreaking jolt, like a sudden wakening from a dream.”  —The Seattle Times

“Heller is a masterful storyteller and The Dog Stars is a beautiful tribute to the resilience of nature and the relentless human drive to find meaning and deep connections with life and the living.” —Julianna Baggott, author of Pure

“Terrific . . . With echoes of Moby Dick, The Dog Stars . . . brings Melville’s broad, contemplative exploration of good and evil to his story.” —Shelf Awareness

“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 (starred)

About the Author

PETER HELLER is the best-selling author of three novels, including The Painter and Celine. He holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in both fiction and poetry. An award-winning adventure writer and a 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 author of several nonfiction books, including Kook, The Whale Warriors, and Hell or High Water: Surviving Tibet’s Tsangpo River. He lives in Denver, Colorado.