Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Dog Stars

Yea, yea, yea -- it's been an age since somebody wrote an honest to god book review on this fine page, but I'm happy to say that
        1. I'm back
        2. I've got a book to talk about
        3. It's one of finest books I've read all summer
        4. It's called The Dog Stars and it's by Peter Heller (Knopf, $19.96, hardcover)
Before we get started, I want you to sit back for a minute. Take cold sip, a deep breath. Now recall as much as you can about Cormac McCarthy's The Road. Post apocalyptic. Violent. Lonely. Take another breath. Now recall Norman Maclean's A River Runs Through It. Montana. Fishing. Family. One more second. Seeing it? Poet-pilot-fisherman fighting post-apocalyptic wanderers (yea, a tongue twister) open country...

Yea. You're there. You've stepped right into it. Peter Heller's newest novel. Written with a naturalist's eye, a fisherman's soul, and social perspective of a taoist hermit, Heller's work takes us back to the poetry of the countryside while reminding us of that dark fate that looms every time a pig or a bird catches the flu and sends it our way.  The prose is spare, poignant--and often hilarious--yet Heller not gloss over the darkness of post-apocalyptic life in any way. In fact, the book's attention to detail is stunning.

The story is this: A pilot (Hig) lives with a heavily armed survivalist in rural Colorado. A blood-sickness has ravaged the human population leaving few survivors. Hig and his partner live off of their land, eating what they grow, shoot, and catch. Hig flies his small plane daily, assessing their plot's perimeter and any activity in the surrounding areas.  Plot ensues...

And you won't want to miss it!

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