September 20, 2006

Torrents of vivid sublimely subjective prose ...


“Oriana Fallaci—as Peter Popham puts it in The Independent—was arguably the most extraordinary journalist Italy has ever produced.” Well, I don’t say I don’t agree with that statement, but I would prefer to say that, as far as I know, Oriana was the world’s most incisive and brilliant interviewer. As a matter of fact, while among the most famous and respected Italian journalists of the past I couldn’t find it too hard to mention some other names, it wouldn’t be the same with the world’s most famous interviewers I have ever read.

But it is certain that

[w]ith her torrents of vivid, sublimely subjective, flamingly emotional prose she became Italy's most famous war correspondent by far.

And that when Oriana turned her attention to the leaders of the world, within a few years she became, as Elizabeth Mehren puts it in the Los Angeles Times, “the journalist to whom virtually no world figure would say no.”

It is also true that Fallaci's real second wind arrived on September 11, 2001, with the destruction of the twin towers by Islamist terrorists. In those days she wrote for Italy's best-selling and most important newspaper, the Corriere della Sera, an article and an incandescent pamphlet which became almost immediately a book, La rabbia e l'orgoglio (2001; The Rage and the Pride, 2002), a best seller (a million in Italy and hundreds of thousands across Europe) and, above all, the most controversial work of her career:

A crude, bigoted, downright nasty attack not just on Islamist terrorists but on Muslims of every stripe.

After all it was Oriana who once wrote:

I sat at the typewriter for the first time and fell in love with the words that emerged like drops, one by one, and remained on the white sheet of paper ... every drop became something that if spoken would have flown away, but on the sheets as words, became solidified, whether they were good or bad.
[Quote drawn from here]

Read the rest of the excellent article by Peter Popham if you want to learn more about Oriana Fallaci.



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