Arts preview: Evenings with Authors: Peter Heller

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From the September 5, 2013 edition

Peter Heller’s excellent debut novel “The Dog Stars” (not to be confused with Keanu Reeves’ band Dogstar) takes place in the aftermath of a devastating flu that kills off a bulk of the world’s population. Unlike black-hearted dystopian works by writers like Cormac McCarthy, however, Heller’s narrator, a Colorado pilot named Hig, maintains a degree of humanity, determined, as Heller writes, to “animate somehow the [Earth’s] deathly stillness.”

“That's his challenge every day ... to find a reason to live, to find joy, to find some richness,” Heller said in an interview with NPR’s “Fresh Air.” “And I think that's what makes him so interesting; it's not just about finding the calories to stay alive.”

The author, who has previously written several non-fiction books like “Hell or High Water” (his account of kayaking Tibet’s Tsangpo River) and “Kook: What Surfing Taught Me About Life, Love and Catching the Perfect Wave” (a book one could imagine Reeves’ “Point Break” character thumbing through), visits the Columbus Museum of Art on Wednesday, Sept. 11, as part of Thurber House’s ongoing Evenings with Authors series.