Monday, November 19, 2012
The Dog Stars
Globetrotting author Peter Heller writes adventure, travel, and other non-fiction, often involving dangerous situations. His first novel, The Dog Stars, is a post-apocalyptic Western set in Colorado, with wonderful, lyrical writing about private piloting, mountain stream fishing, and a beloved canine companion. Replace the commas with slashes and you have an epic survivalist tale in free verse.
The book includes rich explorations on meanings and purposes in a new, harsh reality (i.e., shoot high-caliber weapons first, explore meanings and purposes later). Heller's protagonist Hig, a Cessna pilot and outdoorsman turned aerial scout and turf-defender by necessity, has a sliver more heart and hope than his physically and emotionally bunkered neighbor, but you wouldn't know it by his lethal actions against both hostile and non-hostile intruders. Even so, while his partner tends their airfield arsenal, Hig entertains the notion of a life beyond, fueled by a chance radio reception which leads him to a journey of peril and discovery.
(I've got Olivia Wilde as the doctor; that's probably just me.)
My fellow Dartmouth alumni will appreciate Heller's drop-in references -- he also spent four years in Hanover -- including an impassioned, fitting sidebar on Eastern Establishment condescension toward the West.
I look forward with anticipation to reading more of Peter Heller's adventurous works. While I'm more of a National Geographic than a Field and Stream fan, anyone who can turn the end of civilization into a nature appreciation treatise while his hero dodges bullets is worth a gander.