A Postmodern Viennese Narrative: Lilian Faschinger’s Wiener Passion

Eva Kuttenberg


In Wiener Passion (1999), the prolific contemporary Austrian writer Lilian Faschinger (1950–) models a dynamic tension between Vienna as a fundamentally historic space and as a multilayered postmodern milieu. This essay reads the novel as an astute example of “historiographic metafiction” (Hutcheon) mapping the complexities of the postmodern via a double plot set in two fin-de- siècle spaces. The recurring theme in Wiener Passion is a historically informed dialogue between Vienna in the 1890s and 1990s continuously blurring fact and fiction and undermining firm ontological grounding by interweaving multiple perspectives, plots and subplots, and colorful character ensembles. Narratively Faschinger stages her ironic distinctly postmodern commentary on Viennese myths and realities through doubling and overlapping spatial and temporal settings. Its double setting hinges on and motivates revisiting the past and commenting on the present, and thereby critically engages questions of gender, race, and ethnicity firmly embedded in sociocultural discourse. (EK)