Jakub is haunted by his father’s sins as a communist party member in what was Czechoslovakia. He eagerly accepts the chance to embark on a mission to the mysterious purple cloud of space dust named Chopra in an effort to atone for his father. On earth, he’s a national hero—his persona becomes a character for the national media. In space, Jakub uses his solitude to wrestle over thoughts about his marriage, his sanity, a nasty toothache, and the giant alien spider with human lips and a taste for Nutella that has made its way into the spacecraft.
The book took the reader on an exploration of Jakub’s personal history, the history of the Czech Republic, and how the two are irrevocably entwined. There were some wonderful darkly funny vignettes—hilarious in a way that can only come from a post-communist country that has survived dark times with dark humor. I’m always happy to see a piece of literary fiction that doesn’t take itself too seriously! Na zdraví (cheers)!
Space Man of Bohemia is available in large print and hardcover through the Metro Library Network.
--Shanel Slater, Teen Specialist