The Dog Stars

The Dog StarsThe Dog Stars by Peter Heller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was in a post apocalyptic mood so I grabbed this one. The book is set in a world where the vast majority of the world’s population has died of a flu virus, and a good chunk of the remainder are suffering from a blood borne wasting disease, so even the survivors refuse to trust each other or work together if they should happen to meet. The story follows “Hig”, who is a private pilot who lovingly maintains his 80 year old cessna (“the beast”) and flies to the bush to go hunting with his dog to help replenish food stores. He managed to strike an uneasy alliance with a gun-nut and their lives consist of defending their territory (an airport…) and supplies from interlopers.

The world is great. The book doesn’t spend a whole lot of time lingering on describing the wastelands of post-disaster, and instead spends time developing the story and letting the world unfold around it. It was well done and enjoyable.

Unfortunately, one of the first casualties of the flu was apparently the quotation mark. Despite a decent amount of dialog, there is not one single quotation mark in this book. It was an odd choice, and I think the author tried to use it in a few places to add effect (you weren’t sure if they were thinking, speaking to themselves, which character it was meant to be… the confusion was deliberate) but I didn’t like it. It added a layer of confusion and difficulty throughout, and added very little benefit even in the places it was intended to enhance. I’m sure someone will come up with artsy-fartsy explanations of how it adds meaning, but I felt it was a poor choice.

The text itself is abrupt and kind of strange. It took a bit to get used to the style, but I felt like it fit well once I got into it. Normally it would piss me off to no end, so that it is some sort of accomplishment to admit that.

If you really dig down, nothing much actually happens in this book. The plot is aimless and wandering, just like the lives of what remains of humanity. There is no point and no purpose to their lives anymore, and the book conveys that well. Hig becomes lost, and then physically loses himself in the world, looking for something to latch on to.

Well written, well described, well done.

View all my reviews

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About tagracat
I am not a professional, I don't get paid to review shit, I am just opinionated and I seem to have some sort of disorder that results in spewing my opinions onto the internet. I enjoy writing long-winded posts about things and sometimes I like to pretend people want to read them, so a blog seemed an appropriate place to stuff it. But mostly I just like writing about things.

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