Help find a German book (play?) about a man marked for death...
November 19, 2023 4:28 PM   Subscribe

A rich, jilted lover comes to a small town and offers a fortune if her ex-fiancé dies. Everyone plays it cool but starts spending borrowed money. What is this story?

It was part of my high school reading, because my German teacher was cool. She comes by train, if that helps narrow down the era.
posted by es_de_bah to Society & Culture (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I'm pretty sure this isn't it, but Dürrenmatt's Besuch der alten Dame?
posted by hoyland at 4:33 PM on November 19 [4 favorites]

It's a 1956 play by Friedrich Dürrenmatt translated into English as "The Visit"
posted by virve at 5:13 PM on November 19 [2 favorites]

Definitely Duerrenmatt, Besuch der Alten Dame or The Visit (both are the same play).

It's a depressed town and the townspeople are all "Oh, no we'd never betray you!" while they are wearing a new pair of shoes that they suddenly decided they could afford, for some reason. A classic of dark comedy.
posted by mark k at 6:02 PM on November 19 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you guys. Looking forward to rereading it. Seems like a relevant story.
posted by es_de_bah at 5:43 PM on November 20

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