Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Dog Stars

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller  319 pp.

In the post-pandemic U.S. there are few people left. Hig, the main character, lost his pregnant wife to the virus. He lives with his best friend, a blue heeler dog named Jasper. They have found a place to live at an abandoned air field. His only "neighbor" is a weapons fanatic named Bangley. Hig flies an old, single engine Cessna to keep an eye on things and to find supplies in nearby abandoned stores. He hunts, fishes, and gardens to survive. In spite of his circumstances, Hig retains his humanity, helping out a group of nearby Mennonites who have contracted the "blood sickness" that followed the virus. Hig has a need to find others who have survived, if for no other reason than to alleviate the loneliness. Bangley is a different sort, who would just as soon kill any stranger rather than help and is content to stay where he is, protecting it with his fire power. Hig eventually flies off in search of a radio single he heard, not knowing what he will find and finding what he doesn't expect. Considering the bleak topic, this is a gentle book, about an essentially gentle man who is just trying to survive in extraordinary circumstances. Sometimes that survival requires him to do things he would never have done in his previous life. 

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