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Under the Frog: A Black Comedy Paperback – Jan 20 1998


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Paperback, Jan 20 1998
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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: New Pr; Reissue edition (Jan. 20 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565841492
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565841499
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 14 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #700,246 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Fischer's debut novel, about two young men who escape Communist Hungary to live a carefree live of sex and unemployment while being part of a traveling basketball team, was a Booker finalist.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

Tibor Fischer's hilarious first novel follows the adventures of two young Hungarian basketball players through the turbulent years between the end of World War II and the revolution of 1956. In this spirited indictment of totalitarianism, the two improbable heroes, Pataki and Gyuri, travel the length and breadth of Hungary in an epic quest for food, lodging, and female companionship. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Aug. 15 1996
Format: Paperback
A briliantly written, delicately scatological tale of growing up in the hazy world of tyranny. To the young men of this novel - players on a traveling basketball team in Hungary in the 1950s - life can be broken down into two important quests:
1) The quest to subvert as many of the rules of a Communist state as possible.
2)The quest to get laid.
A very, very funny and sad and fascinatnig novel.
-Dan Koi
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Format: Paperback
Under the Frog is a novel about the oppression and evils of totalitarianism.
The book tracks the exploits of Pataki and Gyuri, members of Hungary's elite National Basketball team from the end of WW II to and through the Hungarian Uprising against the Soviet Union in the mid 1950's.
Ostensibly railway workers, the team travels the country, usually buck naked, in a specially constructed rail car, playing basketball, chasing girls and generally avoiding anything that looks like work while desperately striving to maintain their team membership, the only thing that keeps them from experiencing first hand the blight and depression that marks the plight of the common man in post war Hungary.
Biting, satirical, often hysterically funny, the book nevertheless searingly conveys the sense of deprivation and repression that gave rise to the uprising as well as the brutality and viciousness with which it was put down.
Fischer's international reputation was built on this novel, and deservedly so. It was one of the great novels of the Cold War era.
A brilliant, haunting, truly memorable book.
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By lvkleydorff on Feb. 12 2001
Format: Paperback
A group of adolescent professional basketball players in soviet-controlled Hungary at the end of World War II. The pranks they play are different from what we expect nowadays. They are directed against the totalitarian regime, the all-encompassing graft, the lack of freedom. Some of these boys were soldiers towards the end of the war, first killing Russians, then killing Germans. There are no surprises left for them except freedom. Rather be a street sweeper in London than a big shot in Hungary. Is this book funny? Yes - with the blackest humor you are likely to see in a long time. Is it a satire? No - Every last sentence is the absolute truth, exactly as it happened so many years ago. I strongly suspect that this is the author's autobiography. He was there and has lived through it all.
In many ways, it is a very disturbing book. It shows that just a few people with machine guns can - and will - rule a whole country. It is a lesson to be remembered. Even when freedom finally comes, it only lasts a few days. Soviet tanks roll right over it.
Read it, think about it, remember it.
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By A Customer on Oct. 19 2000
Format: Paperback
"Under The Frog", shortlisted for the prestigious Booker Prize in 1992, is a marvelous first novel from Tibor Fischer. Crackling with a wicked humour that's uniquely his own, Fischer paints a none-too- pretty picture of life in 50s Hungary by following the antics and exploits of two national basketball players (Pataki and Gyuri) as they traipse around the country playing matches against amateur basketball teams to qualify for privileges and a better life. Through their eyes, we observe a Hungary struggling to come to terms with their new masters who fought on their side in WW2 against the Germans, the widespread petty corruption permeating their society, and the sordid lives of the helpless masses. Despite the seriousness of the novel's theme, Fischer maintains a delightfully light and humourous touch throughout, making its message all the more effective. The silliness of the pranks of our two basketball players only heightens our sense of the pitiful state of their existence. It's as if they need this conscious distraction to remind themselves they're alive (ie, it's the only way they know how to survive and keep their sanity). The novel's ending is heartrending as our two protagonists each find their own way forward. This is one of the best books of its kind I've read. It's funny and serious at the same time and Tibor Fischer is a terrific writer. I highly recommend it.
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Format: Paperback
From the dark days at the end of World War Two, through to perhaps even darker days at the time of the Soviet suppression of the Hungarian uprising. Under The Frog is a deeply moving whilst seriously funny book. Seen mainly through the eyes of a basketball playing, perenial under achiever. Under The Frog effectively shows how laughter can rise out of tradegy, and tradegy out of absurbity. Under the frog for me remains one the bitterst denouciations of a totalitarian regime and the evils that it can generate. All that the hero wishes for is freedom. Better a street sweeper in Stockholm than a general in Hungary. This is Fischer's first book and acts as an excellent introduction into the unique prose style. I would heartily recommend the equal excellent 'Thought Gang' and 'Don't buy this if your stupid'
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Format: Paperback
While the author, Tibor Fischer, was born in England, and only spent a brief period living in Hungary during the 1980's, he manages to capture the essence of Hungarians in his darkly comical novel about young, restless basketball players. The over-the-top actions of the narrator and his friends reflect the restrictive nature of Communist Hungary. Building up to the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, the book stays away from dry history and focuses on the more human aspects of being young. The title, "Under the Frog" is part of a colorful idiomatic Hungarian metaphor used in the book, and brings attention to the uniquely Hungarian nature of this work. It is a pleasant read, and is definitely not just for those of Hungarian origin or for those who like basketball.
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