The Dog Stars

The Dog Stars

by Peter Heller
General Fiction
Vintage, 2013
Paperback, 336 pages
$15.00

This post-apocalyptic novel – in the genre ranging from On the Beach to The Road – embeds seeds of redemption in a world of devastation and casual, preemptive violence. There are threads of A Boy and His Dog; Boy Meets Girl; Helping Your Neighbor; and, Tough Old Codgers. But, for the most part, it’s Dog-Eat-Dog (or, more precisely, Dog-Eat-Man!). The writing is inventive and often appealing with one-word sentences and some rhythmic phrasing that brings life and color to an otherwise bleak landscape. A virulent flu virus (with an HIV-type blood disease chaser) has decimated the human population. Climate change is drying, rotting and burning everything else. The setting is Colorado mountain country and we see it from the air in the 1956 Cessna piloted by our young protagonist. He’s “one-of-us” – sometimes savvy, sometimes naïve – amidst a small cast of uber-competents each of whom slowly succumbs to his influence. It’s a good book!