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IN BRIEF

Fiction

July 17, 1994|DICK RORABACK

(DI & I) by Peter Lefcourt. (Random House: $20; 300 pp.) Picture Princess Diana in a yellow tract house in Rancho Cucamonga, mousy-brown hair in a bun, eating homemade cookies in the kitchen while Princes William and Henry, crew cut, shoot hoops in the driveway. Tonight there's PTA and league bowling with Leonard--Leonard Schecter, the screenwriter who brought her here. Picture Princess Di, happy as a hog.

This is sublime summer reading; a never-never love story, semi-plausible adventure and hymn to the humdrum, spiked with devastating shots at the Royal Family. (Di and Fergie call them "the Germans": "It's all that intermarriage in the 19th Century. They talk about fertilizer and castrating horses at tea.") They will not be amused. You will. Tracked by a heat-seeking ex-wife, Leonard, signed for a miniseries on Di, flees to London to absorb "verisimilitude." He meets Di at a reception. They click. What does he do, she asks. He's writing an epic poem about her, he lies. She wants a peek. He labors all night, foals "The Dianiad" (not bad). They meet clandestinely for tea. She confides that she's "desperately unhappy": Life with Charles is "sitting at his feet in rapture as he drones on about organic rutabagas. . . . I would start yawning after a while. That was my crime. I yawned." They love, they thrive. They get caught, and so will you.

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