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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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Freddy and Fredericka Paperback – July 25, 2006

3.9 out of 5 stars 106 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com 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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Though it is hard to be a king, it is harder yet to become one," begins this wildly imaginative, adventure-filled, clever—and also overlong and self-indulgent—parody of a future king and queen of England, who are dead ringers for Charles and Diana. Freddy lacks the charisma and royal presence that would qualify him for kingship (in spite of his intelligence and book smarts), so he and his gorgeous but dumb wife, Fredericka, are packed off to a savage land—America—where Freddy must fulfill a mysterious quest in order to achieve his destiny. Helprin (The Pacific and Other Stories, etc.) plays out his zany plot on a grand scale, attempting a satiric critique of modern English and American society. The narrative is loaded with witty philosophical asides about the folly of human nature and of the governments people elect or endure. When the dorky prince and his ditsy wife arrive incognito in America, parachuting naked into New Jersey, they embark on a series of screwball adventures that take them from coast to coast. Most momentously, Freddy finds himself a secret adviser to an egregiously stupid presidential candidate. Rarely does the narrative shimmer with the lyricism that distinguishes Helprin's best work, but readers can have fun with this book, which is probably all Helprin intended.
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.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (July 25, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143037250
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143037255
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,352 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Brian Watkins VINE VOICE on August 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My advice is to find a quiet place and prepare to read this one all the way through in one sitting. Don't get lost in the comedy--though it is hilariously funny, it is a gallows humor. As ridiculous as the plot or characters may seem, the book is never far from the truth. Our society passed into the absurd some time ago and Mr. Helprin is merely holding up a mirror.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
"Though it is hard to be a king, it is harder yet to become one." Thus begins Mark Helprin's hilariously wacky fantasy "Freddy and Fredericka".

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.
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Format: Hardcover
Freddy and Fredericka tells the tale of two familiar characters: a large-eared English prince prone to muck up public relations at every conceivable opportunity, and his blonde consort, a princess who is as ditzy as she is beautiful. But instead of degenerating into the cheapened tabloid tragedy of Charles and Diana, the lives of Freddy and Fredericka are suddenly and miraculously redeemed by an unexpected series of events -- on the orders of the mysterious "Mr Neil," the apparent power behind the British throne (the name's an anagram, hint hint), they are parachuted naked into New Jersey with the understanding that they are to remain in exile until they can win back the American "Colonies" and reincorporate them into the British Empire.

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.
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