Within the Live Ash Circle

I think maybe the world, or at least our little world here, our corner of the “conservative blogosphere” ( really? Is that what our Mischief is?) may be ready for a palate cleanser vis à vis the British royalty, after the rebuke of Prince Andrew and the tawdry tantrum of Morganatic Meg. Hey! remember that the Kings of England were the subjects of Shakespeare’s great plays, remember King Arthur and all that the Camelot myth once meant to us, pretty much throughout the Anglosphere. Maybe we’d like to blow off the glitter and see if we can catch just a fleeting gleam of the gold.

If you’re up for that, I recommend Mark Helprin’s 2005 novel, Freddy and Fredericka. It’s a hilariously funny book in which a young Charles-and-Diana-esque royal couple are dispatched to our shores to recover the colonies for the Crown. But funny isn’t all it is. “Live ash circle” is an anagram, as is the name of “Mr. Neil”,an irascible old gent the Queen summons when it appears that maybe Prince Freddy isnt, yet, quite the kingly thing. It’s kinda a picaresque, like the Grail cycle itself.

If you are a novel reader, and you do not know Mark Helprin’s work, I envy you. Refiner’s Fire based on Helprin’s stint in the Israeli Army. Winter Tale, based on— well, no antecedent, really, it’s sui generis . Oh, all of ‘em! Freddy isn’t really typical, so if it’s not your, uh, cup of tea, don’t be turned off from exploring his ouevre. His most recent novel, Paris in the Present Tense, was unlike anything I ever read; I couldn’t have imagined being in desperate suspense as to whether the sympathetic protagonist would die soon enough!

Helprin waS a speechwriter and a foreign policy adviser for the GOP, and I sure wish he’d go back to that gig.
If you meet up with him, O Ratty, I think you and he will like each other!


2 thoughts on “Within the Live Ash Circle”

  1. Hypatia:
    “Live ash circle” is an anagram, as is the name of “Mr. Neil”…

    OK, I figured out “Mr. Neil”, but my Anagram Finder found 13,989 anagrams for “Live ash circle”, including:

    • chivalric eels
    • chili cervelas
    • chillier caves
    • clerical hives
    • silver chalice
    • celiac shrivel

    I have my suspicion, but I can’t get the image of the Eels of the Round Table assembled to aid in the Crown’s reconquest out of my mind.


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