REVIEW: Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfar
SYNOPSIS: 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?
GENRE: Science Fiction
RATING: ★★★☆☆/ 3 Existentialist Stars
REVIEW: Short review this time around. Mainly because a few words will say a lot about this book.
In summary...Dude. This book had my head swimming. It's part Science Fiction, part Psychological Existentialist Manifesto, part Czech Political history lesson. Incredibly interesting and very heady, fantastically written, but definitely not a mainstream crowd pleaser. SPACEMAN OF BOHEMINA is more for the niche reader.
In regards to the listening experience...I ended up listening to the audiobook. In the book there's a talking giant spider in outer space... I will repeat, there's a talking giant spider in outer space. But translating the spiders voice for the audio, the narrator was kinda cracking me up. The voice he used felt like something out of Monty Python (almost like the keeper of The Bridge of Death in The Holy Grail, asking "What is your quest"). I got used to it but at first I was just chuckling.
Overall... it was 3/5 stars for me. Didn't hate it, didn't love it, found a lot in the book worth listening to but maybe it just wasn't entirely for me. Prague is one of my favorite cities though, so even a winding story through space and time and part of Prague was worth it to me.