I am on quite a post-apocalyptic roll here, what with recent readings of The Road, Immobility and now Peter Heller’s The Dog Stars. This latest foray into our bleak future takes place in rural Colorado after the flu has decimated the planet. Hig, a bush pilot and fly fisherman, lives near an airfield with his old dog Jasper, growing vegetables, guarding and protecting the homestead with his surly neighbor Bangley. The two men have figured out how to live near each other, despite Bangley’s violently misanthropic tendencies – although I suppose he does have good cause to be so cranky since most strangers they see try to kill them in this vaguely Road Warrior-esque world. One day, years after the plague, Hig hears a voice over the radio in his plane and he decides to see who else may be surviving out there, thinking surely there’s more to this life, tattered as it is. Heller writes The Dog Stars in an abstracted first person narration, which I didn’t particularly care for but which was more fulfilling than the oblique Immobility. Not all questions are answered and there are some sad parts to get through, but ultimately The Dog Stars contains a little hope … which is always a good thing once the apocalypse rolls around.
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