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      Stephen Jarvis 9780374139667

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The Dog Stars


The Dog Stars Cover

ISBN13: 9780307950475
ISBN10: 0307950476
Condition: Standard
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Reading Group Guide

The introduction, discussion questions, and suggested further reading that follow are designed to enliven your group’s discussion Peter Heller’s novel about a pilot and his dog trying to survive in a world filled with loss, The Dog Stars.

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W S Krauss, February 4, 2015 (view all comments by W S Krauss)
It's the end of the world as we know it and Hig has found a place for himself at an airport in the middle of nowhere, Colorado. He and his unlikely friend, an old man named Bangley, live at the airport and protect each other from people who stumble upon them and mean to cause them harm. Bangley has lots of firepower and Hig has his dog, Jasper, and a Cessna. Hig patrols the surrounding countryside with the plane to watch for intruders. I don't want to give any of the plot away but things happen to change the lives of these two survivors. It's a beautiful, hopeful story and I loved the stream of consciousness style of writing.
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Diana9009, May 24, 2013 (view all comments by Diana9009)
This book is incredible in so many ways. A rare gem that will make your heart pound like a thriller and make your hair stand on end from the prose. Also rare in the fact that it's written in present tense, yet flows effortlessly. Though I'm a fan of the present tense it has a number of limitations, one of which being that it feels unfamiliar, since most people are used to reading in the past tense. But I hardly noticed it wasn't in past tense. I got about fifty pages in before I realized. That's how perfect and necessary it is. And actually, this book made me rethink the way I write in first person. Hig's narration is fractured, often in incomplete sentences. And of course it is. That's how people really talk, even to themselves. Especially to themselves, especially in a world as lonely as this. And the way he left certain things unsaid. Genius, really. Said out loud they're cliches; unsaid, they're landmines, his emotional revelations. Really it's what the narrator doesn't say that's important. The blank spaces we, the readers, fill in with our own universal experience. Utterly brilliant.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
Julie Asregadoo, April 10, 2013 (view all comments by Julie Asregadoo)
I absolutely loved this book. Heller's writing is lyrical, and shows the heart of a poet. I got this book from the library, but when it comes out in paperback, I'll be buying a copy for sure. High praise considering the small amount of space on my bookshelves.
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Product Details

Heller, Peter
Vintage Books
Popular Fiction - Adventure
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Vintage Contemporaries
Publication Date:
8 x 5.16 x 0.69 in 0.58 lb

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The Dog Stars Used Trade Paper
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$10.50 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Vintage Books - English 9780307950475 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

A post-apocalyptic story with an open, elegant heart, Heller's debut novel follows a pilot, Hig, and an ex-military man, Bangley, in their fight for survival. Although stuck together in an uneasy partnership, they each flawlessly compensate for the deficits in the other and guard their "home" — an abandoned airport — from marauding intruders. Even as danger lurks around every corner and death is present in every exchange, the two work together as a well-oiled machine. Yet, nine years on, Hig is lost and yearning for something he can't quite name. Leaving Bangley on his own, Hig takes off in his little Cessna and flies beyond the point of no return, holding onto the only thing he can — hope.

The Dog Stars is an achingly beautiful book with characters that are wholly human. It's a dazzling story full of loss, pain, and sorrow, but also truth. And every page is absolutely humming with brilliance.

"Review" by , “Extraordinary....One of those books that makes you happy for literature.”
"Review" by , “This end-of-the-world novel [is] more like a rapturous beginning....Remarkable.”
"Review" by , “Heart-wrenching and richly written....The Dog Stars is a love story, but not just in the typical sense. It’s an ode to friendship between two men, a story of the strong bond between a human and a dog, and a reminder of what is worth living for.”
"Review" by , “A brilliant success.”
"Review" by , “Beautifully written and morally challenging”
"Review" by , "Dark, poetic, and funny."
"Review" by , “An elegy for a lost world turns suddenly into a paean to new possibilities. In The Dog Stars, Peter Heller serves up an insightful account of physical, mental, and spiritual survival unfolded in dramatic and often lyrical prose.”
"Review" by , “With its evocative descriptions of hunting, fishing, and flying, [The Dog Stars], perhaps the world’s most poetic survival guide, reads as if Billy Collins had novelized one of George Romero’s zombie flicks.”
"Review" by , The Dog Stars can feel less like a 21st-century apocalypse and more like a 19th-century frontier narrative (albeit one in which many, many species have become extinct). There are echoes of Grizzly Adams or Jeremiah Johnson in scenes where Heller lingers on the details of how the water in a flowing stream changes color as the sun moves across the sky.”
"Review" by , “Heller’s surprising and irresistible blend of suspense, romance, social insight, and humor creates a cunning form of cognitive dissonance neatly pegged by Hig as an ‘apocalyptic parody of Norman Rockwell’ — a novel, that is, of spiky pleasure and signal resonance.”
"Review" by , “Terrific....With echoes of Moby Dick, The Dog Stars...brings Melville’s broad, contemplative exploration of good and evil to his story.”
"Review" by , “A post-apocalyptic adventure novel with the soul of haiku.”
"Synopsis" by , A San Francisco Chronicle and Atlantic Monthly Best Book of the Year

Hig somehow survived the flu pandemic that killed everyone he knows. Now his wife is gone, his friends are dead, and he lives in the hangar of a small abandoned airport with his dog, Jasper, and a mercurial, gun-toting misanthrope named Bangley.

But when a random transmission beams through the radio of his 1956 Cessna, the voice ignites a hope deep inside him that a better life exists outside their tightly controlled perimeter. Risking everything, he flies past his point of no return and follows its static-broken trail, only to find something that is both better and worse than anything he could ever hope for.

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