Freddy and Fredericka

Mark Helprin, Author
Mark Helprin, Author . Penguin Press $27.95 (553p) ISBN 978-1-59420-054-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-4193-3591-4
Paperback - 553 pages - 978-0-14-303725-5
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 978-0-7865-6842-0
Open Ebook - 978-0-7865-6841-3
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4498-9207-4
Open Ebook - 576 pages - 978-1-101-20117-6
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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. Agent, Wendy Weil Agency. Author tour. (July 11)

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