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Böszörményi Zoltá

He Set off for the World with the Shirt on His Back

by Adam Jakab
RTL Klub Fokusz

Zoltán Böszörményi arrived in Toronto without the command of the language or any marketable skills and with $25 in his pocket. A few years and a college degree later he was running his own business. But it was not there that he made his first million.

He brought back something more valuable to his homeland then capital: business experience and expertise,  ambition to succeed, and the ability to recognize a money-making opportunity when he saw one. And, as he says, money was growing on the sidewalks in Eastern Europe in the early nineties. Now retired from business, he lives a life of luxury reserved for very few. He’s got it all; apartment with a view in Monte Carlo, de luxe cars, the glitter. And yet the true focus of his life is on Hungarian literature; he takes more pride in his several volumes of poetry and his recently published novel than in any other achievement.

Monaco is the world’s second smallest state. It covers less than 2 square kms or about a square mile, less than the castle hill of Buda, and its population of 29,000 would hardly qualify it as a small town in most other countries, yet it’s the world’s most famous rocky outcrop. No doubt, it has the highest number of rich people per square yard, and everybody who’s anybody in showbiz must make an appearance there at least once in a lifetime. At least to see the Formula 1 race. We are lucky to have a Hungarian writer living there who can give us a glimpse at life in Europe’s jewelry box.

“I’m not a businessman. I am a reformed manufacturer who, after suffering a catharsis, returned to his first love, literature,” explains the writer.

It may be tempting to assume that in the lap of luxury a novel would practically write itself, but the author says the writing process put him through major emotional upheavals, and he worked on it as if his life had depended on it. And although he lacks nothing in life, he’s quite anxious about the reception of his novel.

Zoltán could have had his book put out by his own publishing firm, but he preferred to get in line with other authors with ms in hand and knocked on the door of a publisher in Budapest. Now he confesses he didn’t think he had anything to lose; in his hands he had the great Hungarian novel of the last decade.