Shorlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award 2013. THE ROAD - but with hope. Hig, bereaved and traumatised after global disaster, has three things to live for - his dog Jasper, his aggressive but helpful neighbour, and his Cessna aeroplane. He's just about surviving, so long as he only takes his beloved plane for short journeys, and saves his ...
Shorlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award 2013. THE ROAD - but with hope. Hig, bereaved and traumatised after global disaster, has three things to live for - his dog Jasper, his aggressive but helpful neighbour, and his Cessna aeroplane. He's just about surviving, so long as he only takes his beloved plane for short journeys, and saves his remaining fuel. But, just once, he picks up a message from another pilot, and eventually the temptation to find out who else is still alive becomes irresistible. So he takes his plane over the horizon, knowing that he won't have enough fuel to get back. What follows is scarier and more life-affirming than he could have imagined. And his story, THE DOG STARS, is a book unlike any you have ever read.
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I am absolutely haunted by this book. Initially I was reluctant to read it, thinking it would be like The Road, too painful to contemplate. But it had more of beauty to it than loss - and humor and terrific characterization and suspense. It is a survival story, one that portrays catastrophic loss and quietly suggests why we would even consider wanting to to survive the unspeakable.
I wanted to read it again as soon as I had finished.
Publishers Weekly, 2012-06-11 In the tradition of postapocalyptic literary fiction such as Cormac McCarthy's The Road and Jim Crace's The Pesthouse, this hypervisceral first novel by adventure writer Heller (Kook) takes place nine years after a superflu has killed off much of mankind. Hig, an amateur pilot living in Colorado, has retreated to an abandoned airport from which he flies sorties in "the Beast," his vintage Cessna, over isolated pockets of survivors. His only neighbor is the survivalist Bangley, who's sitting on a stockpile of weapons and munitions, and the only visitors are plague survivors who have descended into savagery. Hig's one real comfort, besides the memory of his dead wife, Melissa, who fell victim to the flu while pregnant, is his dog, Jasper. But when that comfort is withdrawn, Hig flies west in search of the radio voice that called out to him three years before. Instead, he ends up being shot down and restrained by a doctor named Cima and her shotgun-toting father, a former Navy SEAL. With its evocative descriptions of hunting, fishing, and flying, this novel, perhaps the world's most poetic survival guide, reads as if Billy Collins had novelized one of George Romero's zombie flicks. From start to finish, Heller carries the reader aloft on graceful prose, intense action, and deeply felt emotion. Agent: David Halpern, the Robbins Office. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly, 2012-11-26 Hig, the hero of Heller's thoughtful postapocalyptic novel, is a soft man in a hard world. One of the few survivors of a virus that wiped out most of humanity, Hig is better suited to reading poetry, fishing with his dog, and reminiscing than scratching out a hardscrabble existence in the land that used to be Colorado. If it weren't for Bangley, a cantankerous, survivalist neighbor, roaming hordes of bandits would have killed Hig long ago. So, finding himself alive despite everything that's happened, Hig must to forge a new life in a new world. Narrator Mark Deakins turns in a winning performance. He deftly alternates between Hig's inner monologue, lush descriptions of the Colorado Rockies, and staccato prose. Throughout the book, Hig's first-person narration is interrupted by the imagined voice of Bangley-an element that could be confusing for listeners. Deakins rises to the challenge, however, creating distinct voices for the characters and an enjoyable listening experience. A Knopf hardcover. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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