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 wife and best friend, 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?
Finalist for Center for Fiction's 2017 First Novel Prize
New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
Best New Fiction -- Wall Street Journal
New Books We Recommend -- New York Times
“Kalfar has much larger aims with Spaceman of Bohemia than to write a spry, madcap work of speculative fiction . . . He has such a lively mind and so many ideas to explore . . . Kalfar has an exhilarating flair for imagery. He writes boisterously and mordantly . . . His voice is distinct enough to leave tread marks . . . A frenetically imaginative first effort, booming with vitality and originality.” - New York Times
"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 Kalfař'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
"Jaroslav Kalfař 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 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