Di and I

Peter Lefcourt, Author
Peter Lefcourt, Author Random House (NY) $20 (300p) ISBN 978-0-679-42583-0
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In this uproarious send-up of British pomp, Hollywood sleaze, royalmania and the institution of marriage, Lefcourt ( The Dreyfuss Affair ; The Deal ) takes readers behind closed doors with Princess Di and the Windsors. Leonard Schecter, a successful Hollywood screenwriter, is drafted to go to London and write a miniseries on ``the real Diana,'' but his assignment changes from profession to passion when he meets the princess and, scandalously, dances with her at a Togolese embassy reception. Spontaneously, he tells her that he is writing an epic poem-- The Dianiad --in her honor. The two soon embark on a romance that has them sneaking all over the realm, one step ahead of the voracious media. Schecter, an all-American wiseass of Polish-Jewish extraction, soon appears at Ascot, Balmoral and Princess Margaret's private poetry reading even as the Windsors attempt to discourage his attentions to Diana and the press reports him luring her off to Hollywood and film stardom. But the couple's real adventure begins when they steal away from Spanish King Juan Carlos's private Bahamian island and go incognito (with princes Wills and Hal) as the Keats family, traveling across America in a minivan and settling in California to run a McDonald's. Lefcourt delivers laughs at every turn in his fast and witty first-person narrative, lampooning both high and tabloid culture with dead-on accuracy while deploying a winning yarn that is both a captivating romantic fantasy and a clever, backhanded homage to the American dream. (June)
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