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Posted at 2:15 PM ET, 01/27/2011

Novel imagines Princess Diana's life had she lived

By Stephen Lowman

monicaali.jpgA forthcoming novel imagines what might have happened to Princess Diana if she hadn’t died in a Paris tunnel in 1997.

“Untold Story” is written by Monica Ali and will be published this June in the United States. But it hits shelves in the United Kingdom at the end of March — a month before the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. (Ali told the Guardian that she delivered the book to her publisher last July and that the timing of its release was coincidental.)

The book’s protagonist is a fictional princess, but the publisher makes clear she is meant to bear resemblance to Princess Diana. The publisher's promotional material reads:

Diana’s life and marriage were fairy tale and nightmare rolled into one. Adored by millions, in her personal life she suffered heartbreak and betrayal. Within a life of privilege, she frequently felt trapped and alone. Surrounded by glamour and glitz and the constant attentions of the press, she fought to carve a meaningful role for herself in helping the needy and dispossessed. Constrained by protocol and precedent, she refused to follow the rules. The contradictions and pressures of her situation fuelled her increasingly reckless behaviour, but her stature and her connection with her public never ceased to grow.
Untold Story takes the life of the world’s most famous woman as a point of departure, imagining a future and examining the nature of celebrity, the meaning of identity, and the need to find one’s place in the world. Like Diana, the fictional princess who is the novel’s heroine, is both icon and iconoclast. Will she ever find peace and happiness in her own life, or will the curse of fame always be too great?

Monica Ali’s first novel, ”Brick Lane,” set within a Bangladeshi immigrant community in contemporary London, made 2003’s Man Booker Prize short list and is being turned into a movie.

By Stephen Lowman  | January 27, 2011; 2:15 PM ET
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