Jakub Procházka is not your ordinary spaceman: selected by the Czech Republic for a (potential suicide) mission to collect samples from a cloud of mysterious space dust, Jakub has traded his quiet scientist's life in Prague with his wife, Lenka, for the eternal glory that comes with being his country's first astronaut. But when Lenka falls off the map, not showing up for one of their schedule video chats, Jakub falls into an existential crisis that involves a Nutella-loving alien spider named Hanuš, a trip back into his troubled past, and revelations about what exactly makes life worth living. The Martian by way of Kafka, The Spaceman of Bohemia is funny, beautifully written, poignant, and mind-bending in the best way.
— From Lauren
"A frenetically imaginative first effort, booming with vitality and originality . . . Kalfar's voice is distinct enough to leave tread marks."-Jennifer Senior, New York Times
New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
Best New Fiction -- Wall Street Journal
New Books We Recommend -- New York Times
An intergalactic odyssey of love, ambition, and self-discovery
Orphaned as a boy, raised in the Czech countryside by his doting grandparents, Jakub Prochazka 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.