The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

Posted August 5, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literary Fiction, Science Fiction / 0 Comments

The Dog Stars by Peter HellerTitle: The Dog Stars (Goodreads)
Author: Peter Heller
Published: Knopf Doubleday, 2012
Pages: 336
Genres: Literary Fiction, Science Fiction
My Copy: ARC from Netgalley

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

The Dog Stars is really a stylised book full of interesting characters and quirks. Peter Heller’s novel is a story of a pilot who has survived a pandemic flu that has killed off most of the world’s population.  He’s lost his wife and is living in a hangar of an abandoned airfield with his dog and his only neighbour is a misanthrope. He is now living in a world filled with loss, what will he risk to rediscover himself and reconnect with other survivors? Will he go against all odds just to make a connection?

This book has an interesting blend of literary fiction and dystopian adventure, it reminds me a little of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road in that aspect. The characters are great in the book, with their flaws and interesting personalities. I think Peter Heller did a great job with the characters. The book at times tends to be dark and gritty which works well with the sense of the end of the world and the violence that would assume such an event. But then at times the book seems over descriptive and sometimes feels too flowery and nice which never really seemed to match this dystopian novel.

There are so many great elements in this book but there are other aspects of the book that didn’t work for me. My main problem with the narrative; it felt almost experimental, trying to do something that didn’t quite work for this style of book. It is written in a first person perspective but also written in a past tense, so you have a feeling that everything will be ok and no sense of tension throughout the novel. At times the sentence feels broken and disjointed, I’m not sure if this is an attempt to show that the narrator is unreliable but I don’t think it worked too well in this kind of novel.

The Dog Stars is a remarkably unique novel and there are some great aspects of this novel to sink your teeth into. It was a captivating and enjoyable ride; even if I had issues with the narrative and at times felt bored with the story. The characters in the novel were definitely the highlight of this book but the adventure helped move the plot along. Personally if I compare this book with Cormac McCarthy’s book The Road, I would recommend it over The Dog Stars, but this doesn’t mean you should overlook this novel.

0 responses to “The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

  1. Marie

    I didn’t enjoy The Road but I do love my dystopian fiction so may well give this a go!


      • Marie

        I find it very difficult to put my finger on exactly what I didn’t like about it, but I didn’t engage with it at all. I felt quite indifferent towards the characters and by the end didn’t really care what happened. It’s strange how some books just don’t get under your skin!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.