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.