The Woman on the Rock


The story is published in 1954. It is one of Andrić's short stories that is far removed from either the Bosnian setting or its thematics and symbolism. This has led more than one critic to remark that Andrić had bid his farewell to Bosnia and was concentrating more successfully on contemporary stories with non-Bosnian setting.

The central character is the forty-eight ex-opera-singer Marta L, beautiful and successful lady. She spends her holiday on the seaside, and lying on the beach, she is thinking about herself. Marta L. is in the zenith of her life, and she has an inkling of the old age approaching. She doesn’t want to admit her fear, so she goes back to her childhood and youth, and revives the days of waking her sexuality. The very thought on the old age fills her with horror; in the hot summer day the ex-beauty can’t stop thinking that the best days of her life passed away, and that the time when she will be the old lady is coming. Marta L. can’t find own peace, except in sunbathing or swimming.  In those moments, when she feels her body, Marta L. is tranquil. The end of the story tells that: “She felt herself as light and big and powerful as the world which itself changes and remains always the same, calm and happy in the lap of the benign, momentary respite.”