Mark Helprin's legions of devoted readers cherish his timeless novels and short stories, which are uplifting in their conviction of the goodness and resilience of the human spirit. Freddy and Fredericka - a brilliantly refashioned fairy tale and a magnificently funny farce - only seems like a radical departure of form, for behind the laughter, Helprin speaks of leaps of faith and second chances, courage and the primacy of love. Helprin's latest work, an extraordinarily funny allegory about a most peculiar British royal family, is immensely mocking of contemporary monarchy and yet deeply sympathetic to the individuals caught in its lonely absurdities.
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