Spaceman of Bohemia: Book summary and reviews of Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfar

Spaceman of Bohemia

by Jaroslav Kalfar

Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfar

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Book Summary

An intergalactic odyssey of love, ambition, and self-discovery.

Orphaned as a boy, raised in the Czech countryside by his doting grandparents, Jakub Procházka has risen from small-time scientist to become the country's first astronaut. When a dangerous solo mission to Venus offers him both the chance at heroism he's dreamt of, and a way to atone for his father's sins as a Communist informer, he ventures boldly into the vast unknown. But in so doing, he leaves behind his devoted wife, Lenka, whose love, he realizes too late, he has sacrificed on the altar of his ambitions.

Alone in Deep Space, Jakub discovers a possibly imaginary giant alien spider, who becomes his unlikely companion. Over philosophical conversations about the nature of love, life and death, and the deliciousness of bacon, the pair form an intense and emotional bond. Will it be enough to see Jakub through a clash with secret Russian rivals and return him safely to Earth for a second chance with Lenka?

Rich with warmth and suspense and surprise, Spaceman of Bohemia is an exuberant delight from start to finish. Very seldom has a novel this profound taken readers on a journey of such boundless entertainment and sheer fun.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Jakub's coming-of-age story and improbable space flight combine to create an exhilarating concoction of history, social commentary, and irony. Reading like Arthur C. Clarke's 2001 crossed with a Milan Kundera novel, set in a Philip K. Dick universe, with a nod to Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis, it manages to be singularly compelling while still providing mass appeal. Highly recommended." - Library Journal

"Kalfar's confection is an inventive, well-paced exercise in speculative fiction. An entertaining, provocative addition to the spate of literary near-future novels that have lately hit the shelves." - Kirkus

"Written in an erudite comic style, the novel boldly switches tones like a spacesuit built for multiple planetary atmospheres: from the historical to the domestic, from out-of -this-world fables to brutal terrestrial reality." - Publishers Weekly

"Spaceman of Bohemia represents the fiery, funny launch of an exciting new voice. Jaroslav Kalfar, like a good literary astronaut, finds levity in gravity, and vice versa." - Sam Lipsyte, New York Times bestselling author of The Ask

"Jaroslav Kalfar has spun an unforgettable tale, a poignant interplanetary work that collapses the distance between us with the beauty of its language and the unstoppable wonder of this universe he's created." - Samantha Hunt, author of Mr. Splitfoot

"Spaceman of Bohemia is the best, most enjoyably heartbreaking, most fun book you'll read this year. On the surface, you'll see affinities with Gary Shteyngart, with The Martian, with Kelly Link. But Jaroslav Kalfar's voice is entirely his own. I beg you: take this strange, hilarious, profound, life-affirming trip into literary outer space." - Darin Strauss, National Book Critics Circle Award winner for Half a Life

"Spaceman of Bohemia is a wise and elegant work composed of its own unique ethereal grace-a hauntingly beautiful story of solitude, hope, family, and love that transcends, uplifts, carries the reader away." - Dinaw Mengestu, author of The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears

"Spaceman of Bohemia is unforgettable: a work of breathtaking scope and heart, and a reflection of humanity that's raw and strange and profound and true." - Lisa McInerney, author of The Glorious Heresies, winner of the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction

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More Information

Jaroslav Kalfar was born and raised in Prague, Czech Republic, and immigrated to the United States at the age of fifteen. He earned an MFA at New York University, where he was a Goldwater Fellow and a nominee for the inaugural E. L. Doctorow Fellowship. He lives in Brooklyn. This is his first novel.

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