Alexander Boldizar, Chaos, Harvard, and The Ugly
We had a super blast talking with Alexander Boldizar. Christoph Paul pretty much hijacked my podcast but that’s cool cause I got to meet an awesome new writer. He talks about the weird social atmosphere at Harvard where he studied, early life as a refugee, and why satire is the best weapon against everything that people hold sacred. One podcast is not enough for him but it’s a start. Join us!
“I have a firm belief that sacred cows make the best hamburgers.”
“I wanna fuck on the altar of a church. I want to break taboos.”
“Kafka’s books would have never been published by the big five.”
“The whole book is about clashes and clashes of ways of thinking and without having that Africa storyline to reflect back on the Harvard storyline it would have been a much flatter storyline…the chaos of Africa reflecting back on the order of Harvard.”
“I think the most meaningful moments are not moments that you can really explain to somebody else. The most meaningful moments in our life, they’re these glimpses into something, and they’re bounded in time and you try to explain that really important moment in your life afterwards, and it loses that authenticity. You can’t recreate it. You glimpse it for a limited time, you experience it, and then it’s gone. And I think within literature you can recreate that a little bit, but if you try to overexplain it then you lose it again, it slips through your fingers.”
Alexander Boldizar was the first post-independence Slovak citizen to graduate with a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School. Since then, he has been an art gallery director in Bali, an attorney in San Francisco and Prague, a pseudo-geisha in Japan, a hermit in Tennessee, a paleontologist in the Sahara, a porter in the High Arctic, a police-abuse watchdog in New York City, an editor and art critic in Jakarta and Singapore, and a consultant on Wall Street. His writing has won the PEN/Nob Hill prize and was the Breadloaf nominee for Best New American Voices. Boldizar currently lives in Vancouver, BC, Canada, where his hobbies include throwing boulders and choking people while wearing pajamas, for which he won a gold medal at the Pan American Championships and a bronze at the World Masters Championships of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. For several years, an online Korean dictionary had him listed as its entry for “ugly.”
Stay updated on Alexander Boldizar on his website: www.theuglynovel.com
PLOT OF THE UGLY: Muzhduk the Ugli the Fourth is a 300-pound boulder-throwing mountain man from Siberia whose tribal homeland is stolen by an American lawyer out to build a butterfly conservatory for wealthy tourists. In order to restore his people’s land and honor, Muzhduk must travel to Harvard Law School to learn how to throw words instead of boulders. His anarchic adventures span continents, from Siberia to Cambridge to Africa, as he fights fellow students, Tuareg rebels, professors of law, dark magic, bureaucrats, heatstroke, postmodernists, and eventually time and space. A wild existential comedic romp, THE UGLY tells the tale of a flawed and unlikely hero struggling against the machine that shapes the people who govern our world.