Poetic Dystopian Fiction
By Peter Heller
Alfred A. Knopf, $24.95, 336 pages
The Dog Stars is a thrilling debut from adventure writer Peter Heller set in a dystopian but distinctly recognizable future. Hig is a pilot surviving in a largely depopulated America where most of its inhabitants – including Hig’s wife and daughter – did not survive a mass flu epidemic.
Formerly a contractor, Hig now spends most days alone with his dog Jasper on a country airstrip in Colorado, occasionally interacting with his odd survivalist neighbor, Bangley. When he’s not defending his turf from intruders, he’s flying in his 1956 Cessna, reminiscing about his former life and what he misses: his everyday routine, family, books and movies. Soon, Hig and Jasper take his plane westward in hopes of finding something (or someone) better out there, and above all, a reason to keep on living.
With the plethora of doomsday novels out there, The Dog Stars offers a refreshing twist on a tired genre. Readers will root for Hig and his dog Jasper throughout this heartbreaking, funny and poetic book.
Reviewed by Laura Di Giovine