Untold Story by Monica Ali
A Novel

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Synopsis

W hat if Princess Diana hadn’t died? Diana’s life and marriage were fairy tale and nightmare rolled into one. Adored by millions, in her personal life she suffered rejection, heartbreak, and betrayal. 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. Had she lived, what direction would her life have taken? How would she have matured into her forties and beyond?

Untold Story is about the nature of celebrity, the meaning of identity, and the finding of one’s place in the world. Like Diana, the fictional princess who is the novel’s heroine is both icon and iconoclast. She touches many millions of lives and hearts around the world, sharing the details of her troubled marriage and her eating disorder and reaching out as has no other royal before her. But she is troubled and on the brink of disaster. Will she ever find peace and happiness in her own life, or will the curse of fame always be too great?
 

About Monica Ali

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Monica Ali was born October 20, 1967. She is a British writer of Bangladeshi origin. She is the author of Brick Lane, her debut novel, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 2003.
 
Published June 28, 2011 by Scribner. 288 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History, Travel. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Untold Story

Kirkus Reviews

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Princess Di is alive and well and living incognito in an ordinary American town in this buzzy fourth novel from the British Ali (In the Kitchen, 2009, etc.).

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The New York Times

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Among the real details Ali invokes in this fictitious work is the most memorable and saddest image from Diana’s funeral: the card that sat in a bouquet of white flowers atop her casket, inscribed with the single handwritten word “Mummy.” For those of us who are perhaps too blithe in our observati...

Jun 23 2011 | Read Full Review of Untold Story: A Novel

The New York Times

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Ali does an engaging job of creating sympathy for her heroine, but she has a hard time making the reader believe, for an instant, that Lydia was once a princess — much less the high-strung, self-dramatizing Diana we have come to know from news and book accounts, or the high-strung, self-dramatizi...

Jun 13 2011 | Read Full Review of Untold Story: A Novel

The Guardian

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Immediately we are plunged into the familiar world of American suburbia, with three women – brunette, blonde and redhead – waiting for Lydia to turn up for her birthday meal.

Apr 01 2011 | Read Full Review of Untold Story: A Novel

The Guardian

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I'm not sure I'm really qualified to review Monica Ali's new novel because I don't know what a French tip manicure is and I'm rather hazy on taffeta.

Apr 03 2011 | Read Full Review of Untold Story: A Novel

The Guardian

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Immediately we are plunged into the familiar world of American suburbia, with three women – brunette, blonde and redhead – waiting for Lydia to turn up for her birthday meal.

Apr 02 2011 | Read Full Review of Untold Story: A Novel

The Wall Street Journal

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Ali is guileless in rendering American vernacular (even in small towns you won't hear the words "scram" or "doofus"), the author shows an easy grace in bringing Kensington's concerns and disturbances to life, and Lydia seems increasingly at home running errands and housecleaning.

Jun 25 2011 | Read Full Review of Untold Story: A Novel

NPR

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In Untold Story, writer Monica Ali imagines what might have happened if Princess Diana had survived that 1997 car crash in Paris — and then gone on to fake her own death.

Jun 28 2011 | Read Full Review of Untold Story: A Novel

Star Tribune

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Ali's novel about Princess Di on the lam is both implausible and stilted.

Jul 16 2011 | Read Full Review of Untold Story: A Novel

Book Reporter

But for Ali, now 43 --- seven years younger than Diana --- perhaps she was a mirror of sorts, the way Jane Fonda (Hollywood royalty!) was for my age group.

Jul 04 2011 | Read Full Review of Untold Story: A Novel

The Washington Times

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It is an interesting fictive experiment to base a novel so clearly on a historical character - a photograph of Diana, taken from an angle at the back, adorns the cover - that there is no simple revelation early on: its already there as the premise.

Dec 11 2011 | Read Full Review of Untold Story: A Novel

Entertainment Weekly

Oh, how her desperation to be loved has, time and again, turned her into a ninny!) In Untold Story, noted British writer Monica Ali (Brick Lane) entertains the fantasy — a fashionable pop cultural conceit after the success of Curtis Sittenfeld’s superior American Wife — with an empathetic energy...

Jun 16 2011 | Read Full Review of Untold Story: A Novel

Los Angeles Times

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As the story becomes more and more of a thriller, Ali, to her credit, holds her cards so tightly that the reader has a hard time knowing how the story will end.

Jul 17 2011 | Read Full Review of Untold Story: A Novel

The Telegraph

If we follow that line of reasoning, then we ought never to publish books about 9/11, or even the Second World War.

Apr 08 2011 | Read Full Review of Untold Story: A Novel

USA Today

Princess Di, happy at last.Dreams really do come true in Monica Ali's entertaining Untold Story, a romance novel in all but name.

Jul 07 2011 | Read Full Review of Untold Story: A Novel

Denver Post

Lydia has become her own character, Diana a ghost: naive and vulnerable, self-centered, familiar to us in her self-destruction and her dark fairy-tale life but now entirely real and sympathetic.

Jun 28 2011 | Read Full Review of Untold Story: A Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

Michiko Kakutani Critical Summary Ali, who universally wowed critics with her first two novels, instead caused a massive critical divide with Untold Story.

Apr 10 2011 | Read Full Review of Untold Story: A Novel

Oprah.com

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Jun 21 2011 | Read Full Review of Untold Story: A Novel

Reader Rating for Untold Story
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