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Under the Frog

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Under the Frog
First US edition
AuthorTibor Fischer
PublisherThe New Press (US)
Polygon Books (UK)
Publication date
Publication placeUnited Kingdom

Under the Frog is the 1992 debut novel of British writer Tibor Fischer.[1] The book was a winner of the 1992 Betty Trask Award[2] and was the first debut novel to be shortlisted for the Booker Prize.[1][3]


The novel is a black comedy set in Hungary in the years immediately following the end of World War II and culminates in the 1956 uprising. Its protagonists are Gyuri, Pataki and several others, basketball players who dream of escaping their dead-end factory jobs, and travel to all their basketball gigs in the nude, even when this involves using public transport.

The book especially parodies the trumpeting of the "gains of socialism" by the regime, empty rhetoric which, Fischer suggests, all but the dimmest were able to see through even from the beginning.

Meaning of the title[edit]

The title is taken from a Hungarian expression, "a béka segge alatt" used to describe any situation when things can't seem to get any worse: "under a frog's arse, down a coalmine".


  1. ^ a b British Council. "Tibor Fischer | British Council Literature". literature.britishcouncil.org. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  2. ^ "Betty Trask Past Winners | Society of Authors - Protecting the rights and furthering the interests of authors". societyofauthors.org. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  3. ^ "The Man Booker Prize". Archived from the original on 23 July 2008. Retrieved 18 October 2015.