Jakub, an ambitious young scientist, is chosen to bring glory to his native Czech Republic by traveling into deep space to collect samples from a puzzling, purple dust cloud that may or may not hold the secrets to life itself. In the process, he comes into contact with extraterrestrial life in an unexpected way. And, as his body deteriorates, so does his long-distance marriage.
Kalfar’s prose is fairly sparse, yet powerful, and it suits the setting and narrator rather well. The progress narrative and the love-conquers-all narrative are adeptly challenged, if not de-constructed. The concept of heroism is effectively turned on its head. However, all that flipping doesn’t leave us nowhere; Jakub may have physically escaped the gravitational pull of the Earth, but we don’t go flying off the whole damn Hegelian spiral or what have you.
Those of us who aren’t particular fans of science fiction or space travel will not be bored as well-timed flashbacks about Jakub’s life on earth color the story. We also get a great history lesson on the Velvet Revolution.
So, I’d say that this is a pretty solid novel, and I doubt you’ll be disappointed.