Spaceman of Bohemia

Spaceman of Bohemia

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"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
Shortlisted for the Center for Fiction's 2017 First Novel Prize
New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
Best New Fiction -- Wall Street Journal

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.
Publisher: New York : Little, Brown and Company, 2017.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780316273435
Characteristics: 276 pages ; 25 cm.


From Library Staff

Publisher's Weekly: "A Czech astronaut travels to an interstellar dust cloud in an attempt to redeem his family name in this wonderfully jubilant and touching debut novel. "

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

HappyPuffin Oct 29, 2017

One of the best new books/authors of 2017. The story was compelling, humorous and touching.

Sep 12, 2017

A Czech astronaut with a troubled past is picked for a solo mission investigating a glowing cloud between Earth and Venus. His country believes, falsely, that he dies and they make him a hero and he loses his identity and family. Visualizing a spider while on the journey, he has philosophical conversations with the creature that may be real or imaginary. Less than satisfying ending to the story.

Aug 16, 2017

I enjoyed this book. Insights into Czech history and culture, an imaginary (or is it real) alien spider. I look forward to more books by this author.

Jul 15, 2017

I really enjoyed this 'literary sci-fi' novel. Very creative story arc takes on a number of issues with a deft touch and great (very European) sense of humor. It's fun for me to read books written by people who are happy in and proud of their culture without being chauvinistic about it - it gives me hope that this might be possible for Americans someday.
I will say that the ending has trouble wrapping up the package as beautifully as the package might deserve, but given the amount of amazing and ground-breaking stuff in that package, I didn't fault this young author for being unable to rise to the challenge. Highly recommended to anyone who enjoyed Hitchhiker's Guide &/or Kurt Vonnegut. I look forward to more from this writer!


Add a Summary

May 17, 2018

Awesome first novel by an immigrant Czech writer about a professor who is sent on a one-man space mission. Filled with satire and poignancy, this sci-fi with a twist story is written in the first person with musings on culture (and food and alcohol!), family, Czechoslovakia's turbulent history, politicians, and corruption, love, loneliness, sanity and insanity, alien life forms, and ultimately what it means to be human.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at LPL

To Top