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Freddy and Fredericka Paperback – July 25, 2006
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
In my opinion there are a good deal of readers who just don't get this book. It would be most instructive for them to review Mr. Helprin's "Swan Lake" series and to see Mr. Helprin's contempt for the ersatz "leaders" most now choose to follow. If we learn anything from this book, and most will choose to disregard its very simple teachings, it is that anything just and true has a cost. Those who pay the cost are entitled to an understanding that brings the peace and contentment that money or fame falsely promises. Frankly, there is not one of Mr. Helprin's works that doesn't clearly address a theme of rising above the ordinary--a quest for perfection.
An author this gifted writes at many levels--I cannot hope to have plumbed the depth of this work on one reading but like his other novels expect the book to reward additional study. Helprin reminds us that we each have an unlimited destiny and power to do good in the world if we will choose the correct path. Indeed, that there is one correct path to success, which is admirably summarized by Freddy in a particularly memorable speech, is Helprin's message. There are no shortcuts. There is absolute truth.
We can become kings and queens--it is our inheritance. Disagree if you will with the message or its presentation but I have encountered no other modern author possessed of the sheer force of language to do justice to the argument.
Freddy is the Prince of Wales. In private he is a fit and intelligent man approaching middle age who tests his physical skills by hiking across the wilds of Scotland with nothing but a backpack. He is thoughtful and well read. In public, he is ungainly and misunderstood. His rather large ears and his penchant for making malaprop-riddled public utterances make him a laughingstock to the British public. His wife, Fredericka can do no wrong. Considerably younger than Freddy, she is beautiful but empty-headed. Despite that, no matter what she says, no matter how vacuous or wrong headed the public eats it up. Freddy's mother, Queen Phillipa, abhors Fredericka. The Queen's relationship with her daughter-in-law is dysfunctional to say the least. Freddy has a sizzling relationship with an older yet extraordinarily passionate woman, the aptly named Lady Phoebe Boylinghotte. Freddy and Fredericka's relationship is strained to say the least. Sound familiar yet?
As the story opens, Freddy is in the Scottish Highlands trying unsuccessfully to get a falcon to fly at his command. This is no trivial matter. The falcon will only fly for someone with the qualities to be a king and no Prince of Wales can succeed to the throne unless can make the falcon fly. Freddy has failed in his first three attempts. He has one more to go.
After a series of hilariously funny misadventures that makes Freddy look like an insane clod a mysterious stranger, a wizard in fact, is summoned to Buckingham Palace in what can only be described as a royal intervention. Mr.Read more ›
If the plot at this point sounds ridiculous, it only becomes stranger and more fanciful. Freddy and Fredericka, during the course of the novel, find themselves battling Neonazis, driving hotdog mobiles, posing as dentists from a state whose name they can't pronounce, and managing a presidential campaign (which is perhaps the most farcical incident of all), along with many other strange and magnificent adventures that I won't give away. Helprin has crafted an amazingly hilarious book that, while lighter and more readable than his earlier efforts A Soldier of the Great War and Winter's Tale, still manages to be moving. The farce is somewhat unsubtle (Fredericka's dog is named Fah Kew, and whenever it goes missing, perpetually misunderstood Freddy must roam the streets screaming "Fah Kew! Fah Kew!" in the earshot of horrified and insulted citizens), but is most often absolutely, uproariously funny and, incidentally, perfectly suited for a film -- will we see our first Helprin movie in the near future? One can only hope.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I could not get in to this absurdist story. It was like being in a Monty Python sketch forever.Published 1 month ago by Monique Walker
At first it was a little slow, and I was put off by some of the events that occurred, but when they reached America everything g changed. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kathryn
have read all Halprin...this is a delightful, flowing diversion from his standard and one great adventure. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Mark Macdonald
What a great, funny, erudite, classy novel. I was really sorry to reach the end of this book.Published 6 months ago by Joseph Pescatello
I'm having a hard time getting into this book. All my friends love it though.Published 8 months ago by cmroesch
Funny, if you have a fleeting understanding of the antics of the British monarchy in the 1980s & 1990sPublished 8 months ago by Woody
Definitely a book I will receive mend and... Read more