Spaceman of Bohemia

Spaceman of Bohemia

Book - 2017
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"When Jakub Procha is sent into space to examine a cosmic dust cloud covering Venus, it may be a solo suicide mission. Dreaming of becoming a national hero and desperate to atone for his father's sins as a Communist informer, he leaves his beloved wife behind and launches into the galaxy. But things aboard spaceship JanHus1 quickly turn weird, and, to make matters worse, he soon learns that his wife has disappeared without a trace back on Earth. As his spaceship hurtles toward an unknown danger and his sanity wavers, Jakub encounters an unlikely fellow passenger -- a giant alien spider. He and his strange arachnid companion form an unlikely bond over late-night refrigerator encounters, where they talk philosophy, love, life, death, and the incomprehensible deliciousness of bacon. But when their mission is thrown into crisis by secret Russian rivals, Jakub is forced to make violent decisions -- recalling the tortured past and dark political heritage he's buried -- in a desperate quest to return to his Earthly life. Packed with nail-biting thrills, exuberant heart, and surprising and absurd humor in the lineage of Kafka and Vonnegut, Spaceman of Bohemia offers an extraordinary vision of the endless human capacity to persist -- and risk everything -- in the name of love and home"--
Published: New York :, Little, Brown and Company,, 2017.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780316273435
0316273430
Branch Call Number: F KAL
Characteristics: 276 pages ;,25 cm.

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ppeau Oct 28, 2018

I wanted to space out reading this book, but I read it all in one sitting! The main character Jakub struggles with his father's wrongdoings as a communist informer, separation from a lover, and more. The "spider" presents an interesting view on Jakub's dilemma, which translates well into issues that a lot of us humans have. While it might get a bit intensive for the average reader, the story feels almost like a Czech story translated into English, as you have things such as the Velvet Revolution, Jan Hus, dechovka, and much much more treated as normal, common knowledge. Just looking up what a couple of these things were were very interesting and you get to know a bit more about Czech culture!
The book isn't perfect, however as I feel that after the first half more drastic things occur that don't fit in completely with the rest of the book, but the ending while not perfect does make up for it in my opinion. The author goes delves a bit too much into the sexual tones, to the point where it can be uncomfortable to read how graphic it gets. Regardless, those scenes tend to be short and the author was trying to convey the longing the protagonist had and don't ruin the whole book!

HappyPuffin Oct 29, 2017

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

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fred98115
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.

j
JohnHy
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.

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peachmcd
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!

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suzysushi
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.

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