Saturday, July 13, 2019

Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfař

This is the story of Jakub, a Czech astronaut in the near future who goes on a solo mission to investigate a strange new and possibly threatening spacial phenomena.  But it's not just the story of his space journey and the effects of isolation in space.  It's also the story of his youth and a slice of the history of Czechia (the Czech Republic). 
I liked it a lot. 

The part in space was interesting, and I really loved Hanuš (read the book to find out who he is).

The part about Jakub's Czech childhood before and after (mostly after) the Velvet Revolution was fascinating and sometimes heartbreaking.  I admit I’m a bit biased because I have lived in and love Czechia (aka the Czech Republic, aka the former Czechoslovakia), but I thought the story was very moving.  The Czech history I know took on the faces of people I really cared about.  Very well done.  I also loved the references to bits of culture, foods, habits etc. that I remember from Czechia. 

The book sometimes waxed too poetic, abstract, and philosophical for my personal tastes, but some people will love the book even more for these aspects.

I would rather have had a bit more happy resolution at the end, but I think it was well done…and not what I expected. 

Overall, a great read.  I will certainly try more by Jaroslav Kalfař, especially if it takes place in Czechia.

4.5 stars

WARNING:  strong profanity and short but explicit sexual scenes and references.

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