A recurrent character constellation in both modernist and postmodern literature involves subordinates forced to wait for others to act before they can advance - literally or figuratively, personally or professionally. Through an analysis of the language that is used to depict this pervasive phenomenon, ""Killing Time"" investigates how German and Austrian novelists of the twentieth century represented hierarchical social relations. By dissecting the linguistic and narrative devices through which seven representative novels expose hierarchical patterns, this work reveals how literary language reflected the shifting perceptions of time and space as the century witnessed rapid technological developments and cataclysmic political events. In considering stylistic elements as well as the sociohistorical backdrops of novels written throughout the past century, ""Killing Time"" also provides insights into how and why German and Austrian writers were compelled to highlight waiting hierarchies and their consequences so frequently during these often turbulent times. Jennifer Marston William is Associate Professor and Chair of German at Purdue University.