Book Club Review: The Dog Stars

For the first book review of the new year (can that be possible? I’m not sure it’s true, but it just might be as I was a study machine prior to last month) I’m going to try and keep it shorter than last year’s reviews.

I recently finished The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

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This book came recommended by a friend who I trust for book recommendations. The summary describes it as:

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.

(source)

I liked the way the book was written. It’s hard to describe, but it’s closest to stream of consciousness. I thought it was a beautiful way of narrating a post-apocalyptic themed novel. It really captured the loneliness. The Dog Stars is in two parts, and I felt like they were disjointed. I liked each part, but I couldn’t tie them together mentally, and that bothered me.

I generally enjoy post-apocalyptic stories, but in this case, it was more of a background theme, which is fine; just don’t go into it expecting to know anything more than the bare bones facts surrounding the end of the world. Mostly The Dog Stars is about love and loss and love again and loss again. Due to the narrative style, all the emotions are understated but raw and beautiful in their simplicity.

It took me a while to get through The Dog Stars, and I never really felt like I got into it, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and would definitely recommend it.

 

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