Book Launch: Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfař
Where: powerHouse Arena
28 Adams St.
718-666-3049 Price: Free
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Sweeping and intergalactic in scope, yet firmly rooted in earthy nostalgia, this stunning debut brings us to the outermost reaches of human exploration even as it reminds us what is at the very core of human existence: a need for love and home.
In SPACEMAN OF BOHEMIA, we meet Jakub Procházka, the world’s first Czech astronaut, who’s been sent on a dangerous solo mission to Venus. In orbit, Jakub receives word that his wife, who was troubled by his departure, has disappeared without a trace. He also encounters, and befriends, a potential hallucination: a giant alien spider with a passion for Earth’s philosophy and food. Woven throughout this otherworldy experience are Jakub’s recollections of his childhood under the Communist regime, and memories of the grandfather who shaped him (based very much on the author’s own beloved grandfather, to whom the novel is dedicated).
With a deft touch Kalfař imbues this epic adventure with warmth and humor, and juxtaposes the past wounds his characters stubbornly nurse against the possible future that may redeem them or condemn them. SPACEMAN OF BOHEMIA raises questions of circumstance vs. character, and inheritance vs. choice.
Lyrical and unhurried, moving liquidly from present to past and back again, the novel celebrates the implausibility of our existence, in all of its spectacular, ordinary wonder.