The Visit Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Visit

The town of Guellen is in dire need of money, and the townspeople believe that they'll soon be getting some. Claire Zachanassian, a multimillionaire who used to live there about 45 years ago, is coming back, and everyone's sure they can convince her to give them money, since they've heard a great deal about the charitable things she's done. Ill, a shopkeeper in the town, was a friend and lover of hers when they were younger, and he's intent on using this relationship to the town's benefit. Claire does promise the town and everyone in it a lot of money, but only under the condition that someone in the town must kill Ill.
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The review of this Book prepared by Melissa Cookson

The Swiss city of Guellen is bankrupt although its surroundings are very wealthy. In this situation comes the old Lady Claire Zachanassian, who lived there as a child and is a billinaire now. She already had nine husbands and eight divorces and managed to get every husbands money. Now she offers Guellen a huge amount of money to help the people. But there is a condition: Ill, her former lover, who betrayed her must be killed. At first, the people of Guellen object, but on further reflection they are not so sure anymore. While Ill suffers from utmost fear, we get to know that Claire set everything up, that she is to blame for Guellens' poverty.
The review of this Book prepared by Anne

From what I have read this is a very misunderstood play. It concerns the return to a small German town of an old , wealthy woman who "goosesteps" elaborately around the stage. She demands the town turn over a citizen who offended her years earlier in exchange for great wealth being showered upon the town.

I understand this to be an illusion to the implicit deal the German public made: support Hitler and his ant-semitism in exchange for the prosperity promised by a greater Germany.
The review of this Book prepared by Ray Gambel

THE VISIT has been first published in 1956.

Guellen is a small German town, once wealthy, which seems to be abandoned now by the industrial world. The factories have closed and the town is potentially bankrupted. So when Claire Zachanassian, a hometown girl who's become a billionaire, comes back and announces that she intends to give 50 million to the town administration and 50 million to be distributed to the citizens of Guellen, the people begin to dream of a rebirth of the town. But there is one condition set down by the old lady : that her old lover Ill, who betrayed her 50 years before by refusing to acknowledge their child, has to be condemned to death and executed by the people of Guellen. At first shocked by this barbarian demand, the citizens, little by little, will forget their sense of justice.
The review of this Book prepared by Daniel Staebler

Chapter Analysis of The Visit

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   depressed Time/era of story    -   1980's-1999 Life of a profession:    -   "the rich" Ethnic/Regional/Religion    -   Swiss Other aspects:    -   story of "the rich" Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Job/Profession/Status story    -   Yes Ethnic/regional/gender life    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Age:    -   60's-90's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   German


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   2 () Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   Switzerland    -   Germany Small town?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   mostly dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like The Visit

Friedrich Durrenmatt Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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