Monday, June 16, 2014
Review: The Dog Stars by Peter Heller (audio)
The Dog Stars
Read by Mark Deakins
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.
Quick nonspoilery summary:
Hig is one of the last people left after a major flu epidemic that killed everyone he knew. Nine years later, he lives at an small airport with his dog, Jasper, and a man named Bangley, whose distrust for others is matched only by his gun collection. Hig and Bangley need each other to survive. Hig hunts, fishes, farms, and patrols the perimeter in his airplane, and Bangley provides needed defense and weaponry. It is not much of a life, but it's a life. Until one day it is not enough anymore.
I listened to the audio production of this title, and I really enjoyed it. The story is easy enough to follow without being boring.
I chose to listen to this book because it was available from the library at a time when the other audio titles I was interested in were not. For this, I am thankful. I did not find the dust jacket description particularly compelling. Another post-apocalyptic novel? And the main characters are a couple of men and a dog? Well, I was wrong. It is compelling. The characterizations in particular were great. I really grew to care about them. The writing was wonderful. Plain, but poetic. The landscape was well-described.
I appreciated also that there was very little of the before. Not a lot of time was spent on describing what happened, because ultimately that is not important. What is important is how you survive and at what cost to yourself and others. What is the price of your survival and is it a price worth paying?
If you liked The Dog Stars by Peter Heller, maybe try City of Thieves by David Benioff, which is set during the Siege of Leningrad during WWII. With D. B. Weiss, Benioff is the executive producer, showrunner, and writer for Game of Thrones on HBO, which makes it a timely choice if you have not read it yet.