Artistic, rebellious, and unapologetically intelligent, Božena Němcová defied every convention for a woman in mid-nineteenth-century Bohemia. The Bitter Life of Božena Němcová is a biographical collage of found texts, footnotes, fragments, and images by and about the Czech writer. Kelcey Parker Ervick questions the concept of biographical “truth” while also revealing a spellbinding portrait of Němcová. The book’s second section is Parker Ervick’s epistolary memoir of her own failing marriage and her quest for a Czech typewriter, as well as a meditation on reading, writing, and happy endings. The two sections combine to create a book as defiant, enchanting, and complex as its namesake.

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stories, essays, COMICS, COLLAGES

Liliane's balcony

Liliane's Balcony
The Bitter Life of Božena Němcová: A Biographical Collage

Comic: "My God, It's Been So Long" in The Believer

Visual Essay: "The Habit of Art: A Year of Daily Painting" at The Rumpus
Featured Artist: Indianapolis Review (paintings and interview)
Essay: "My Viking Name" in Colorado Review

Comic: "The Fish" at Nashville Review
Short Story: "Limberlost" at Booth 
Essay: "How We Talk About Women's Lives" at LitHub

Scenes from the release of DEFUNCT: A RESURRECTION in April 2019>>>>>


Past meets present in Kelcey Parker's (For Sale By Owner) second book, as she erects an expertly cantilevered world upon the foundation of Frank Lloyd Wright's iconic Fallingwater. This multi-layered novella brings a variety of voices into conversation, grafting the preoccupations of four modern-day visitors into the house's haunting history. [...] Parker deftly weaves each character's spidery thread into a rich meditation on the natural and built worlds, the lasting and the passing. The present echoes the past that thrums beneath the roar of the falls, and Parker delivers a symphony of histories both real and imagined.

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For Sale by Owner


In Kelcey Parker’s tales of twisted domesticity, a woman gives her family up for Lent; a mother finds redemption at Chuck E. Cheese; a former best-friend-forever wreaks baby shower havoc; a bride swallows a housefly at the altar; and a suburbanite’s obsession with memory books puts her family in jeopardy. These stories offer a contemporary and dryly funny view of marriage, parenting and loss.

Fans of Lorrie Moore and Aimee Bender will find kinship in Parker’s wit, her generosity of spirit and the confidence of her voice. This debut collection marks the appearance of a writer with a blunt and beautiful perspective on family, home, and an evolving American subculture.

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The Bitter Life of Božena Němcová

kelcey parker ervick

for sale by owner