The Invention of Curried Sausage
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The Invention of Curried Sausage

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3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  719 ratings  ·  86 reviews
The Invention of Curried Sausage is an ingenious, revealing, and delightful novel about the invention of a popular German sidewalk food. Uwe Timm has heard claims that currywurst first appeared in Berlin in the 1950s, but he seems to recall having eaten it much earlier, as a boy in his native Hamburg, at a stand owned and operated by Lena Brücker. He decides to check it ou...more
Paperback, 218 pages
Published October 17th 1997 by New Directions (first published 1993)
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Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
Curried sausage was accidentally invented when love had at last brought the pain it had promised. It was salvation disguised as food. Who knows where she would have ended up, dead maybe, had she not stumbled, eyes blinded by tears, spilling the curry powder? Against the backdrop of an ending war they found each other. Their love was illicit, but true nonetheless. Years after, eyes blinded by old age, she remembers everything. A man in search of the inventor of curried sausage finds her in a nurs...more
Friederike Knabe
Lena Brücker is the heroine of Uwe Timm's 1993 novella, The Invention of Curried Sausage or Die Entdeckung der Currywurst in German. A kind of sausage any German has enjoyed in their youth and beyond. Now old and blind, living in a nursing home, Lena shares her memories of the last weeks in Hamburg in April/early May 1945 with the much younger narrator. For decades, Lena owned one of the food stalls in downtown Hamburg, and her specialty was "curried sausage". One of the many customers was young...more
Scot
Although fairly unknown and relatively obscure in the United States, this novella by Uwe Timm was a best-seller in Germany in the mid 1990s, and it is a remarkable piece of literature. The translator, Leila Vennewitz, deserves a word of praise too--even in translation this story unfolds in a lyrical, captivating manner.

A fellow living in Munich sometimes debates with friends where his favorite German specialty snack, curried sausage, originated, and he maintains it began with a woman who lived i...more
Thing Two
This novella snuck up on me. Uwe Timm writes a story about an old woman recalling a wartime relationship and how it lead to the invention of the German take-out dish curried sausage. This story sucked me in until I got to the point I couldn't put it down -- not even for a currywurst! Beautiful, poignant, and powerfully written, this story begs to be heard -- I may read it aloud next time.
Julia
An odd, charming little German novella. Can't say what made me pick it up, but it was a tasty morsel.
Kristel
The story within the story (double narrator device) is set in Hamburg, Germany at the end of WWII. The protagonist, a young man who used to eat curried sausage at Mrs. Brücker’s stand sets out to find out how she came to invent curried sausage. Mrs. Brücker begins a long story which really is the story of her life at the end of WWII. A young naval officer, Bremer, is assigned to go to the front line to stop British tanks instead of returning to his map room in Oslo. He spends the night with Lena...more
Bjorn
Currywurst is one of those weird results of the post-war era: the most teutonic of foods, the sausage, fried up in Indian curry (or rather a European version of it). As Timm puts it, it's the sort of food that could only be a hit in a country where grey must occasionally be offset by splats of red. It started turning up in hot dog stands in the 50s and became a staple of German fast food. Trying to pinpoint exactly when and by whom it was invented is like trying to decide who invented the hambur...more
Bobby
A short fictional story set in post-WWII Germany about how curried sausage was invented. Though initially the subject didn't seem all that interesting to me frankly, I ended up being charmed by the technical merits of this book (as well as the sense of nostalgia it evokes). This is one of the rare books I've read that successfully manages to leave the war in the background, and instead focus on the story it sets out to tell, while never letting the reader forget the post-war context that clearly...more
Kris McCracken
A cracking little book by Uwe Timm. It’s a beautiful mediation on women, men, circumstances, knitting and curried sausage.

It’s a lovely capture of a specific time and place, and reflection on what are really universal human relations. As the title indicates, at its heart is the search for the inventor of the Currywurst, a popular German fast-food consisting of hot pork sausage (cut into slices and seasoned with curry sauce (regularly consisting of tomato paste blended with curry) and generous am...more
Jennifer
Some of the greatest things are discovered by accident and by simple twists of fate. Well, that's this book in a nutshell. Sorry foodie fans of curried sausage, but this book isn't really about the invention of spicy meat in tube form. Not specifically anyways. It's really about living in Nazi Germany as the war ends and the influence of paths that cross unexpectedly in dire situations. I absolutely loved the pages were the curried sausage inventor, Lena Brücker, was forced by the constraints of...more
Jim Coughenour
As its title suggests, this is a tasty morsel of a book, a quick read with a twist of piquant melancholy. Set in Hamburg in 1989, where the narrator interviews an old neighbor who claims to have invented curried sausage (only a German could make this sound good), most of the story actually takes place at the very end of WWII. Unlike most European novels set at that time, Timm's novella is light – the word "droll" comes to mind. Recommended as a snack.

Jan-Maat
I haven't read the translation but I do feel the need to make absolutely clear that Currywurst is not curried sausage. The Wurst is never curried, it may be served in a curried tomato sauce, or in tomato sauce with a dusting of curry powder on top but the Wurst is uncurried, a plain, traditional Wurst chopped into slices. I know that translation is the art of failure, but the translator went too far in this case.
Meaghan
Having not looked this up I'm honestly not sure whether to call this a "fiction," "non-fiction," or "creative non-fiction." The author claims to be telling a true story that's (ultimately) about curried sausage, as told to him by the woman who invented the stuff. Certainly he could be. But how could he know everything that was going on, what the characters were thinking, etc.? Hmm.

Yet I don't really have to know.

In any case, it's a compelling story: a short, sweet love affair in Hamburg in 1945,...more
David
No question that this is a fascinating novella about the interlocking movements of individual stories that make up the grand scheme of history. Sharply drawn characters swing between passivity and commotion.

I haven't seen the English translation, but I find it dubious just on the basis of the title. The obvious translation of the German title is "The Discovery of Curried Sausage". And this slightly absurd designation is crucial to the spirit of the book, the way it balances the sense of fate in...more
Giovaennchen Lozano
Este libro también tiene una versión en español, se llama "el descubrimiento de la salchica al curry". Hay una serie de leyendas acerca del origen de esta forma tan singular de preparar las salchichas en Alemania, y su autor, Uwe Timm explora una de ellas. A partir de ahí escribe una historia de amor y dolor, de desesperanza y solidaridad. Un soldado deserta del ejército y se esconde, anda a "salto de mata", hasta que llega a donde una mujer le da refugio y lo esconde. Ella tiene que luchar muy...more
Colleen Clark
I lived in Germany for a year on two separate occasions and keep an interest, so I picked this up when I saw it in my local bookstore.

It's written as a reminiscence by a man from Hamburg who goes back to visit his home city and talks to a woman, now elderly, whom he knew from his childhood. For many years she ran a curry wurst stand in Hamburg. She tells him how it came to be by way of a tale about her life at the very end of WW II - April 1945 - and how a young soldier wandered into her life an...more
Sarah
Currywurst as madeleine. And coffee instead of tea. Speaking of coffee, I was watching a movie recently in which Clark Gable instructs his breakfast partner in the proper way of dunking a doughnut into a cup of coffee. It was a very proto-Twin Peaks moment. I don't do coffee and I don't do doughnuts anymore. I can't dunk. Nor do I eat currywurst, so what I'm saying is that I can only read about these things in books or watch them in movies. It's enjoyment twice removed (I figure first removed wo...more
Audrey
A wonderful novella with echoes of Greek myth, although told from Kalypso's point of view instead of Odysseus'. But that's only really a starting point. I'm used to reading about World War II from the Allied side, so it's another reversal to consider the war from the pov of ordinary Germans. Timm comes at it from all sides. If food is life, and war is death, he's continually circling around, while his protagonist, Lena Brucker, tries to steal some happiness and love out of the miserable chaos. I...more
Adrian Lee
Nice and interesting premise, good plot weaved with historical background, full shaping of characters, but very casual English translation with many errors。
Christine
Der Autor versteht es, uns Nachgeborenen ein lebendiges Bild des Kriegsendes (2. Weltkrieg) in Hamburg zu vermitteln. Die Handlung ist aus der Sicht einer einfachen mittelalten Kantinenangestellten erzählt, die einen deutlich jüngeren Soldaten kennenlernt und ihm hilft zu desertieren, indem sie ihn in ihrer Wohnung versteckt. Eine Beziehung, die nur von kurzer Dauer sein kann, beginnt. Die Erfindung der Currywurst ist demzufolge ein etwas irreführender Titel, aber auch diese Geschichte kommt am...more
Jeffrey
The writing style in this book, is just.. Awful
Jess
Believing former neighbor Lena Brucker first invented curried sausage, our narrator tracks her down and requests the back story. She obliges, weaving a story not just of ketchup, curry, and sausage but one involving love, a deserter, Nazi-era Hamburg, Calypso, ginger, and more.

Well translated from the German. The story meanders at times and the text hops between the past and present in the midst of chapters and the story. Yet, it has several lovely little touches (the kitchen raft, the equestria...more
Becky
This is a little joy of a book! I've been hoping to find it at a book shop for ages, as the title is brilliant, and I was finally successful. It's a little book, and a simple one, where the narrator gets back in touch with old Mrs Brucker from Hamburg, in an attempt to discern whether it was her that invented the German favourite currywurst in the final days of World War II. It's a simple, human tale, with human, a small touch of despair, and a little bit of history. Quick, quirky and fun.
Christiane Alsop
Classic storytelling. During the last days of the war a German woman offers shelter to a soldier who is about to become canon fodder. He is hiding in her apartment. When the war ends she doesn't tell him to prolong his stay and their love affair.
As much as I loved Timm's book about his brother, I couldn't get passionate about this one. One of the many reasons: I didn't like the omniscient voice within the framework of the novella. I wanted the author to stay with the protagonist.
Rachel Smalter Hall
I think I expected this to be a bizarre and fantastic little tale about, well, curried sausage. Instead, it was a sweet, sentimental, melancholy story about the experience of being a white anglo working woman in Germany in 1945 when the British invaded, Hitler committed suicide, and the war was finally over. I think I liked this book best for its representation of female strength, desire and aging. But it wasn't really about curried sausage. And that made me sad.
Albert F. Jester
this is a nice and surprisingly touching book..skirting the somewhat non-traditional narration with a traditional narrative brushing the surface..penelope in the guise of an elderly woman from hamburg telling her story of the discovery
or invention of currywurst /not in berlin!/ and in so doing the story of her city in the last days of wwii and immediately thereafter..a creative and sensitive rendering of the personal in, to many, perhaps a familiar frame/terrain
Asa
I found this book enjoyable and a very easy read. The narrator tries to find out who first made curried sausage, and finds Lena Brücker who lives in a retirement home in Hamburg. Lena tells him the story of how she, at the end of WWII in Hamburg, met Hermann Bremer, a soldier who deserted and hid in Lena's apartment. It's about how life goes on and the resourcefulness of people trying to survive when everything changes around them.
j.
Another book that my brother recommended to me.
Going by the number of pages, it shouldn't have taken me so much time to read it but I found it rather hard to read. I didn't really enjoy his writing style too much. The way he didn't use quotation marks and included everything in one single text and suddenly changed perspective is certainly original and adds to the interesting story, but I found it rather hard to read.
Kåre
Dejlig lille bog. Lidt symbolik er der nok i valget af karrypølsen som "hovedperson" i denne skildring af to tyske menneskes liv i de sidste dage af anden verdenskrig. Der er nok også noget symbolik i, at hun tager ham til fange. Jeg har dog ikke tænkt meget over dette, da symbolik af denne type sjældent interesserer mig.

Men klart og levende skrevet med fine spring mellem de forskellige tider og fortællere.
Mitchell
A novella about life in the balance - Hamburg just as World War II ends. I found it fascinating that how the removal of a habit can be disorienting - even if the habit is something as awful as living through the last days of World War II.



I was just in Germany and was lucky enough to see a recently released film version starring the great Barbara Sukowa. Extremely faithful adaptation

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Not as good as MidSummer's Night 2 13 Dec 30, 2008 03:04PM  
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