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Nick Hornby
In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin
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Under the Frog - Tibor Fischer Before traveling to Budapest, I wanted to read something that took place there. This was good choice. The story takes place in communist Hungary, culminating with the uprising in October, 1956. Hungary was invaded by Germany during WWII and then in 1948 was handed over to Russia. The main character, Gyuri Fischer, is a basketball player on a traveling team in 1956. He, along with the other players, are on the payroll of the Hungarian Railway. They are required to work very little and spend all their time playing and practicing. Gyuri's closest friend, Pataki, spends his time trying to upset the powers that be. He is often pulled into communist headquarters to explain himself. The headquarters were located at 60 Andrassy St, a space which was used by the Germans to torture prisoners during WWII. It then was used by the Russians for the same purpose. (The bldg still stands in current day Hungary, as a museum called the House of Terror where one can see the various implements and cells they used in torturing people.) Gyuri is not overly political, but does have a minor role in the uprising. The author, Tibor Fischer, is able to find the comedy in a situation. At the same time, he also writes thoughtfully about the underlying current of unrest in Hungary at that time. I believe the author is recognized for his humor. Here he is able to capture both the humor and the horror.