Saturday, March 6, 2010

Book Club Report: The Invention of Curried Sausage by Uwe Timm

I don't know if I mentioned it before, but my new (non-paranoid) book club has a few native Germans sprinkled in (we are mostly Americans). For our February meeting, we read Uwe Timm's THE INVENTION OF CURRIED SAUSAGE and our hostess treated us to what else? Curried Sausage! Daniel ended up reading the book and coming with me, and everyone seemed pleased to have a man's perspective on the novel.

Short summary: A man recalls eating currywurst as a child at his neighbor's fast-food stand and is convinced that she invented the recipe. He goes to her nursing home to talk to her and get the true story. But it is no simple explanation, rather a very in-depth narrative that starts with an affair she (Lena) had at the end of World War II with a Nazi soldier (Bremer) she hid in her Hamburg apartment.

The group's verdict: This gem from 1993 is listed among the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, and everyone in the group that finished it agreed that it was worth reading. We had a interesting chat about conditions during the war, and the Germans in the group told us some family stories from that time period. We also talked about the parallels of Bremer's experience to that of Odysseus' and what tactics Lena used to keep both Bremer and the author of the story captive. A great pick! Oh, and I read this in the orginal German, which counts towards my personal challenge of reading more in German.

Up next: AWAIT YOUR REPLY by Dan Choan

9 comments:

LovesSam said...

This sounds really interesting and i've never heard of this one before. Books that are set during the war are not really books that appeal to me, but ever since reading The Reader a while back, it fascinates me a little. Because i'm British, a lot of friends and even family have living relatives that lived during the war and can remember what it was like. Even my Nanna was a child when the war was going on, and it's so weird to think that someone you know experienced what it was like. This sounds really intriguing, thanks!! might have to get this one

bermudaonion said...

Kudos to you for reading this in German! I'm totally impressed! The book sounds interesting and I just love the title.

Staci said...

I wish that I was so fluent in another language that I could read an entire book written in it!! I've not heard of this book but it sounds like one that I would enjoy for sure!

Pam said...

That's a great title! It sounds like a great read, too, as most of you liked it.

jocelyn said...

This sounds interesting. Did you know there is a currywurst museum? I think in Munich? I haven't been there, but someone told me about it, and I find it rather baffling. It's a museum devoted to sausage. It's a little difficult to wrap one's head around....Unless one is German, I suppose :)

Rebecca :) said...

I am intrigued. I will have to put this one on my tbr list. What did Daniel think of the book?

Christy (A Good Stopping Point) said...

This sounds like an interesting book, especially as your book club members all found it worth reading. Thanks for the review!

Zibilee said...

I had never heard of this book, but it does sound very interesting and like something I would enjoy. It's also a plus that the club liked it so much. I will have to keep my eyes open for it. Great review, thanks!

Kristi said...

I am really starting to think that I should have been paying less attention to my (then future)husband in our college German class and instead worked a little more on actually learning the language! Really great that you were able to read the book in its original language.

I am a big fan of World War II era fiction, so I'll be adding this to my list.