The Dog Stars
Knopf, August 7 2012, $24.95
In the not so distant future, a pandemic flu decimated the world’s population. Most of those who survived the initial outbreak succumbed to a fatal blood disease. On top of that a drought left most animal, bird and fish species extinct.
Forty-year old Hig watched his wife and friends die in the first outbreak. He has spent the last nine years in Erie by himself except for his loyal companion Jasper the dog. Hig and Jasper reside in an aircraft hangar with his sole human contact being cantankerous elderly recluse Bangley an expert on armaments. He does fly a Cessna in a tiny radius until he hears a radio transmission that gives him hope to chance a one way flight to the voice.
Hig keeps his stoic first person narration brief, which enhances the specter of his being alone except for his canine as he comes across as a sort of like a young man and the air version of Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea. The storyline is not linear as we learn though from mostly the survivalist dreamer what happened to the planet. As he dreams of a more fulfilling human life, Hig learns that “Look like nothing’s gonna change; everything still remains the same” (Otis Redding’s Dock of the Bay) with criminals still out there yet like a throwback he still hopes and dreams.