Fiction Mark Helprin Freddy and Fredericka

ISBN 13: 9780143037255

Freddy and Fredericka

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9780143037255: Freddy and Fredericka

New York Times bestseller by Mark Helprin, author of Winter's Tale, which is now a major motion picture starring Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Russell Crowe, William Hurt, and Jennifer Connelly

Mark Helprin’s legions of devoted readers cherish his timeless novels and short stories, which are uplifting in their conviction of the goodness and resilience of the human spirit. Freddy and Fredericka—a brilliantly refashioned fairy tale and a magnificently funny farce—only seems like a radical departure of form, for behind the laughter, Helprin speaks of leaps of faith and second chances, courage and the primacy of love. Helprin’s latest work, an extraordinarily funny allegory about a most peculiar British royal family, is immensely mocking of contemporary monarchy and yet deeply sympathetic to the individuals caught in its lonely absurdities.

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Review:

Mark Helprin's picaresque romp, Freddy and Fredericka, begins with a secret rite on a Scottish hillside: the Prince of Wales, poised in his crisp field uniform, urges a falcon named Craig-Vyvyan to fly from his arm. The latest in a line of royal falcons with the ability to discern true kings and queens, Craig-Vyvyan sniffs the air, sizes up the bewildered heir to the throne, and refuses to budge. The falcon knows he isn't king-material, and so does the falconer, and so, in his heart of heart's, does the Prince of Wales. From this promising opening, Helprin spins a tale that ricochets in tone between the silliness of The Naked Gun movies and the gravity of a Wesleyan sermon. To prove their worth and prepare them to rule, the Prince and Princess of Wales--loose caricatures of Charles and Diana--are parachuted naked into New Jersey by night and ordered to reconquer America for Britain.

Helprin's theme is nobility--acquired, as well as innate. He puts the spoiled but well-meaning Prince and Princess through a series of farcical trials before they reach the startling conclusion that clean living, hard work, and humility will bring out the best in them. The "funny" parts of Freddy and Fredericka would have benefited from vigorous pruning--the book itself is too long--but there are stirring passages on love and duty sprinkled among the gags and loopy names, and some spectacular landscape descriptions--covert portraits of the force that drives the green fuse through the flower and gives the House of Windsor its curious destiny. --Regina Marler

From the Back Cover:

"With a pitch-perfect sense of the absurd . . . he has produced a delightful romp of a book."
—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

"Freddy and Fredericka recalls American journeys of self-discovery by Mark Twain, John Steinbeck and Jack Kerouac. . . . I promise you, this will be one of the fastest . . . novels you’ll ever read."
Los Angeles Times

"A rollicking, heartwarming examination of the state of the nation . . . Working his own magic, Helprin transforms the thinly veiled satire of the monarchy into a quirky love song to the colonies."
People

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