A dazzling, ambitious, original, funny literary debut spanning duplicitous love, family secrets, political intrigue, a historical riddle and a cloud of spacedust over Venus - Everything is Illuminated meets Life of Pi.
'An incredible experience... I can honestly say I loved every page. Every sentence. Spaceman of Bohemia is unforgettable: a work of breathtaking scope and heart, and a reflection of humanity that's raw and strange and profound and true.' Lisa McInerney, Baileys-Prize-winning author of The Glorious Heresies
Set in the near-distant future, Spaceman follows a Czech astronaut as he launches into space to investigate a mysterious dust cloud covering Venus, a suicide mission sponsored by a proud nation. Suddenly a world celebrity, Jakub's marriage starts to fail as the weeks go by, and his sanity comes into question. After his mission is derailed he must make a violent decision that will force him to come to terms with his family's dark political past.
An extraordinary vision of the endless human capacity to persist-and risk everything-in the name of love and home, by a startlingly talented young debut novelist.
Jaroslav Kalfar was born and raised in Prague, Czech Republic, and immigrated to the United States at the age of fifteen, speaking little to no English at that time but learning it by watching Cartoon Network. He graduated from University of Central Florida, where he received Frances R. Lefkowitz Scholarship, the Outstanding Fiction Writer award, and the Founder's Scholar Award for being the top graduate in the College of Arts and Humanities. He earned his M.F.A. at NYU, where he was a Goldwater Fellow and was one of the three nominees for the new NYU E.L. Doctorow Fellowship Award upon graduating. He is twenty-seven years old.
A superb debut — Sam Kitchener, Literary Review
Dizzyingly inventive, alternately lyrical, earthy, silly and sad. — Kathryn Murphy, TLS
A frenetically imaginative first effort, booming with vitality and originality . . . Kalfar's voice is distinct enough to leave tread marks . . . He has such a lively mind and so many ideas to explore . . . Kalfar has an exhilarating flair for imagery . . . He writes boisterously and mordantly — Jennifer Senior, New York Times
[An] excellent debut . . . This book could mark the launch of an astronomical career — James Marriott, The Times
Reading Spaceman of Bohemia reminded me of the thrill of unearthing Everything is Illuminated from the mound of entries to the Guardian First Book Prize
— Claire Armitstead, Guardian
A joyfully intellectual book; the whole narrative could be read as a dream, as a clever paradigm in ways that resonate with David Mitchell. — Ruth McKee, Irish Times
This wonderful debut is a fine addition to the tradition of eastern European émigré writers [Vladimir Nabokov and, more recently, Gary Shteyngart and Aleksandar Hemon] producing dazzling fiction in English, their second language. — Metro
An incredible experience . . . I can honestly say I loved every page. Every sentence. Spaceman of Bohemia is unforgettable: a work of breathtaking scope and heart, and a reflection of humanity that's raw and strange and profound and true. — Lisa McInerney, Baileys-prize-winning author of The Glorious Heresies
A hauntingly beautiful story of solitude, hope, family, and love that transcends, uplifts, carries the reader away. — Dinaw Mengestu, author of ALL OUR NAMES
Spaceman of Bohemia represents the fiery, funny launch of an exciting new voice. Jaroslav Kalfar, like a good literary astronaut, finds levity in gravity, and vice versa. — Sam Lipsyte, New York Times bestselling author of The Ask
Spaceman of Bohemia is an out-of-this-world look at all our beautiful smallnesses, from the cells of our biology to the bacterial minutiae of one broken heart. The roar of revolution and governmental injustice is cast against the depths of our emotions and the bottomless, grateful silence of the stars. Jaroslav Kalfar 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 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 Kalfar'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