Montclair Author Tells Sexy Story of a Gutsy, Trailblazing Journalist

Oriana Fallaci "thrilled me with how strong and assertive a woman could be," says Anastasia Rubis.

Split photo of author Anastasia Rubis and the cover of her new biographical novel, "Oriana: A Novel of Oriana Fallaci"
Anastasia Rubis wrote a biographical novel about Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci. Author photo: Courtesy of Angela Beekers-Uberoi

I’m a longtime journalist and consider myself well-read, so I was baffled that I’d never heard of the legendary Italian journalist who blazed a trail for women in the 1960s and 1970s.

It was a delight to discover her remarkable story in Oriana: A Novel of Oriana Fallaci (Delphinium, March 19), a sexy and inspiring novel that takes readers from Florence in World War II to the war in Vietnam, then to the Greek island where Fallaci met her true love, and finally to Manhattan, where she died in 2006.

Tracing the evolution of Fallaci’s fearlessness makes for edge-of-your-seat reading. She helped the Italian resistance against Nazi occupation as a teenager, then rose above the misogyny of her Italian newspaper office, going to Vietnam seven times to cover the war and getting shot covering the student protests in Mexico.

By the 1970s, she’d earned a reputation as the world’s best interviewer, getting Henry Kissinger to admit that the war in Vietnam was “useless.”

But Oriana is also a romance, and that story is equally gripping. She was as glamorous and sexy as she was tough as driven, having a 6-year affair with an Italian journalist before the fateful day she flew to Athens to interview Alekos Panagoulis, a hero in the resistance against the Greek dictatorship, and fell in love.

Author Anastasia Rubis grew up spending summers in Greece with extended family. “Fallaci thrilled me with how strong and assertive a woman could be,” says Rubis, who lives in Montclair. “She made a huge contribution to journalism and championed human rights. I wanted to tell that story.”

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