Monday, October 8, 2012
Author: Peter Heller
Enjoyment Rating: *****
Source: Library Copy
Books I've read this year: 106
We decided to adopt a baby about two weeks before undertaking an enormous landscaping project. Consequently, I've spent the fall economizing almost all other aspects of my life. I told Ed that I'd do my part by giving up my habit of buying books with reckless abandon, and started reserving them at the library instead. Most of the time, it's a great solution (except I miss reading myself to sleep by the light of my iPad), but I will admit that I get a rush of panic when the library alerts me that I have (another) hold waiting for me. You may have noticed that my reading pace has slowed considerably this summer and especially this fall since I started teaching. And when four reserves, four books I know I won't be able to renew, all come in at the same time, it makes me read really fast.
Unfortunately, The Dog Stars is the kind of book that isn't mean to be read fast. Oh yes, it's possible to quickly plow through this tale of a man, Hig, who survived an apocalyptic flu and now lives in what used to be Denver with only his dog and a gun-crazed neighbor for company. But that isn't how it's meant to be read. Heller's MFA is in both fiction and poetry, and it shows. His language is poetic, and we really get into Hig's head and feel what he feels as he flies his plane above the ravaged American west, both looking for survivors and afraid of what he'll find.
I know, the summary of this book may make it seem like something you don't want to read, but there are no zombies in The Dog Stars, unless you count the survivors, afraid of embracing life. I'm glad I gave up my much-needed nap last Monday to finish it in a quiet house. I'm still thinking about it.