Year of publication: 1995
Word count: 42.660
Copyright belongs to the author
The novel Reversed Faces poses the question of what is real in literature and what is not. Three surprises are in store for readers within three chapters. The story of lesbian love between a rich landlady Katarina and a teacher of Greek Matilda Lippman, is presented as real, like in many other novels. But, in the second part of the novel, this scandalous story is found by Marijana de Krakow, the heroine of the second chapter. Then will the reader find out for the first time that the first story was merely a literary lie.
Following the second story, the reader will learn more about Marijana de Krakow too. She is an abandoned rich woman. Men enter Marijana’s life to take advantage of her and have a fling with her. That makes her a neurotic, unpredictable and volatile woman. She drifts from one to another man, persistently seeking a protector in every one of them, but she does not manage because they all want her for one-night stand, just to have people talk that they have been with her. Only when she encounters the story about Katarina and Matilda does Marijana realize that she herself has fallen in love with Matilda, a shy Greek teacher. She abandons her life she has led that far and everybody around her soon starts saying that Marijana has gone mad. She gets transferred back to an asylum nearby the Avala Mountain, where, separated from others, happy for years down the road, she corrects the ending of Katarina and Matilda’s love story on her father’s typewriter, taking the Greek teacher away from Katarina and embracing her as if she were her lover.
The third story follows Belgrade’s fate soon after the WWII and establishment of communist regime in Yugoslavia. Danica Mitrinović is a widow. Her father-in-law is the modernist painter Ognjen Mitrinović, who gets attacked and then arrested. Here as well a surprise is in store for the reader. Danica too finds the previous two chapters of the book as if “only written”. So, the fourth woman in the novel Downsides learns about the fates of the previous three: Katarina, Matilda and Marijana, but she does not opt for the same mistake entering the uncertain world of literature. On the contrary, she realizes that she is done with lies and she is actually in love with Ognjen, her father-in-law. She decides to turn to the real, small people, “who cherish their personal numbers, follow their blood and urine analyses, fearing their results and death”, and to visit her father-in-law in prison for the first time.