The Ugly

…is coming September 7, 2016, from Brooklyn Arts Press: A boulder-throwing mountain man from Siberia whose land is stolen by lawyers goes to Harvard Law School to learn how to throw words. Read the first chapter here: I, Muzhduk. In the meantime, here are early reviews from some great authors:



“Alexander Boldizar’s The Ugly is the funniest, smartest novel I’ve read in a long, long time; its protagonist, the inimitable and lovable Muzhduk, is a literary creation for the ages.”

Pete Duval, author of Rear View: Stories


“A picaresque novel about mountain people, Harvard lawyers, the heft of rocks, and the power of words. The Ugly brims with intelligence and humor.”

Laila Lalami, 2015 Pulitzer Prize finalist and 2015 Man Booker longlist author of The Moor’s Account, as well as Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits and Secret Son


“Alexander Boldizar’s The Ugly, the hilarious and inventive and unforgettable story of Muzhduk the Ugli, is a work of kinetic absurdism infused with deep intelligence and feeling. A gift of a debut from a wholly original new voice.”

Laura van den Berg, author of Find Me


“Boldizar has opened a door into the parallel universe of myth. Out of it has stepped a modern day Beowulf—whose shock and awe adventures take him across continents and to Harvard law school where he conquers its resident demons. The author moves from the surreal to the real without ever losing his way.

Alan Stone, author of Movies and the Moral Adventure of Life and former president of the American Psychiatric Association


“Seldom does one encounter a book that balances so much intelligence with so much heart. Muzhduk the Ugli belongs among the great heroes of fiction, alongside Bellow’s Augie March and Dostoevsky’s Aloysha. The Ugli is like a great professor entertaining with larger than life stories. It’s only after you stop laughing that you realize how much you’ve learned.”

Mark Powell, author of The Dark Corner, Blood Kin, Prodigals, and The Sheltering


“Reading Alexander Boldizar is like taking a voyage on a wild fictional ride—every page is bold and inventive. In his restrained and stark prose, Boldizar mixes a kind of fabulism with the absurd as you follow Muzhduk on his journey. Boldizar combines history and hilarity, and offers a sardonic view of the law and legal system. But this isn’t just a novel of ideas—there is skill and confidence in the storytelling and characters, which leads the reader from Siberia to Harvard, Africa to Everest. This is a strange and bold novel, original in its scope, story, and point of view. A compelling and wry debut with intelligence and wit. Boldizar has a sure hand with his prose, and will leave you wanting more.”

Nina Swamidoss McConigley, author of Cowboys and East Indians, and winner of 2014 PEN Open Book Award


“Reader, brace yourself and get ready to place a large rock on your shoulder. Here is a hero’s journey like you’ve never read before, a story about a young man from a forgotten tribe of Slovaks in the mountains of Siberia who settle their disputes by throwing and catching boulders. When his people’s land is threatened by a lawyer from the West, our man Muzhduk must learn to battle with words, leading him to scale the heights of Harvard Law School and race through the physical, bureaucratic, and metaphorical mazes of Harvard and several African countries in order to defend his people’s land and honor and make his way as a boulder-tossing man in a law-filled world. It’s a wild ride that shows us the irrational underbelly of our supposedly rational world.”

Gibson Fay-Leblanc, author of Death of a Ventriloquist and poet laureate of Portland


“Alexander Boldizar’s new novel hit me like a giant, knee-bending, stomach-emptying boulder.”

Stefan Sagmeister, author of Things I have learned in my life so far and Made You Look, and two-time Grammy award-winning designer