When the Queen finally takes matters in hand, she (with the help of a mysterious personage who might or might not have been alive since the days of King Arthur) sends Freddy and Fredericka on an impossible quest: to re-take the American colonies for the British crown. They are dropped by parachute, penniless and nearly naked, into the industrial wastelands of Northern New Jersey. From there, they must find the means to re-capture America, and figure out exactly what it would mean to do so. In their travels across America, we see through their eyes all that is beautiful and strong and enduring about this country. We also see, through their experiences, the prejudice, despair, economic inequity, and day-to-day struggles that color the lives of so many Americans. The story takes place during the quadrennial presidential election cycle, and naturally Freddy and Fredericka get caught up in the nominating convention of one of the two major political parties, and... well, you must read it, especially now when we are preparing our hearts and minds to elect a new president.
This book is serious and silly, hilarious, outrageous, and deeply touching, and eventually develops into a most miraculous and unexpected love story. You will laugh out loud and perhaps cry, and you will think a great deal about America and the conditions in which we seem to find ourselves.
Mark Helprin’s deep understanding of history, politics, and human nature have once again combined in a memorable story which, ultimately, becomes his love song to America.
Other books by Mark Helprin that I cannot live without:
A Soldier of the Great War [my first experience with Helprin…amazing]
Memoir from Antproof Case
A Dove of the East and Other Stories
The Pacific and Other Stories
Ellis Island and Other Stories
[POST SCRIPTUM: The book group hated it. Didn't get it. Didn't find it remotely funny. Didn't understand the satire. That night was the beginning of the end. I felt entirely disconnected from, and separated from, everyone in that room except D, who did understand the book and my pleasure in it. That night, I lost something...several years later, I can't quite define it. Lost some sort of faith in other people. Hmmm.]
[POST POST SCRIPTUM: I still love the book and count it among my all-time favorites.]