Freddy and Fredericka

Freddy and Fredericka

Book - 2005
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Penguin Putnam
Freddy and Fredericka will ascend the English throne only if they reacquire the American colonies and become noble spirits in an ignoble age.

Helprin's latest work, an extraordinarily funny allegory of a most peculiar British royal family, is immensely mocking of contemporary monarchy and yet deeply sympathetic to the individuals caught in its lonely absurdities.

Freddy is the Prince of Wales, Fredericka his troublesome wife. An overeducated, bumbling anachronism, Freddy commits one glorious gaffe after another, for which he is massacred daily in the British press. Golden-haired Fredericka, frivolous and empty headed, is particularly fond of wearing spectacular clothing with revealing necklines. Because of the epic public relations disasters caused by these wayward heirs to the throne, they are sent, in a little-known ancient tradition, on a quest to colonize a strange and barbarous land: America.

In a tour (de force) of the United States, they are parachuted into the gleaming hell of industrial New Jersey and make their way across the country--riding freight trains, washing dishes, stealing art, gliding down the Mississippi, impersonating dentists, fighting forest fires, and becoming ineluctably enmeshed in the madness of a presidential campaign. Amid the collisions of their royal assumptions with their life on the road, they rise to their full potential, gain the dignity and humility required of great monarchs and good people, and learn to love each other.

There is nothing quite like it. Helprin is a lyrical writer whose graceful prose is studded with profound truths and insights. Devoted readers know him for his deeply sad stories that are yet uplifting in their conviction of the goodness and resilience of the human spirit. In what seems like a radical departure of form (as if de Tocqueville had been rewritten by Mark Twain with a deep bow to Harpo Marx), this brilliantly refashioned fairy tale is a magnificently funny farce. But behind the laughter Helprin speaks of leaps of faith and second chances, courage and the primacy of love. He leaves us with the final impression that someone has shouted successfully past the cynicism of our postmodern age in behalf of honor, beauty, nobility, and dreams that come true.

Baker & Taylor
Ridiculed as a matter of course by the British press for their routine gaffes, Prince of Wales Freddy and his wife, the frivolous Fredericka, are sent on a quest to colonize the barbaric land of America, an endeavor during which they engage in such misadventures as a freight train ride, an art theft, and a wayward presidential election. 125,000 first printing.

& Taylor

Ridiculed by the British press, Prince of Wales Freddy and his wife, the frivolous Fredericka, are sent to colonize the barbaric land of America, during which they engage in a freight train ride, an art theft, and a wayward presidential election.

Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, 2005
ISBN: 9781594200540
Branch Call Number: Fiction Helprin
Characteristics: 553 p. ; 25 cm


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Feb 10, 2011

A unique and strange story, but a fun and enjoyable one. Some of the writing got a bit heavy and tangled up in detail, but otherwise, it's a really excellent book.

Icicle Aug 25, 2009

A humerous satire of the lives of the british royalty - specifically Charles and Diana without the marriage issues. This book is hilarious, but full of thinly veiled social commentary that will have you nodding as well as laughing. It's a silly but gripping book.


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