Avala is Falling
In Avala Is Falling, Jovanović’s breakout success in 1978, a young woman challenges the expectations that teachers, parents, bus drivers, and doctors have for her. The “Avala” of the title refers to a mountain south of Belgrade which is home to some of Serbia’s most important nationalist monuments and shrines; it is also the site of the main mental hospital for the region, and its “falling” is the unexpected fulfillment of a prophecy from a traditional Serbian folk song. Jovanović’s use of stream of consciousness in her characters’ thinking and speaking, as well as of intertextuality in description and plot advancement heralded the arrival of an innovative new writer who was determined to break with the of traditional concerns of earlier women writers.
This book is now recognized as much more than “jeans prose,” although the fame the book achieved under that characterization eventually pushed it to cult status. Jovanović is now considered a major avant-garde writer, whose stylistic innovations were as challenging as her women-centered themes.