Monday, 27 January 2020

Books for German learners: Die Entdeckung der Currywurst by Uwe Timm

Level: B1 (adventurous A2 might cope)
Buy it here.*

Die Entdeckung der Currywurst is popular reading for adult German learners for a reason: the book is short and the language accessible without being dull, and the plot is captivating as well as a rich illustration of post war Germany.

Intermediate German books: Die Entdeckung der Currywurst

We meet Lena Brücker through the narrator at 86 years old in an old people’s home. He remembers his aunts former neighbour as the owner of a small, unassuming Imbissbude (the German chippy) where he just happened to eat the best Currywurst of his life throughout his childhood. Lena is rumoured to have invented the Currywurst and our narrator wants to hear the full story.
As he visits Lena, she takes him and us back to Hamburg in April 1945 days before the Nazis surrender to the allies. At the cinema she meets Hermann Bremer, a 24-year-old soldier on his way to join a Volkssturm unit that is almost certain to be eradicated by the advancing British army. They spend the night together after which Lena offers to hide him in her flat.
Bremer, now a deserter, accepts and awaits the end of the war. An event which Lena conceals from him as she enjoys the attention of her younger lover.

📷by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash

This short novella is an excellent introduction to German literature with its straightforward and contemporary German and its rich description of the last days of the Third Reich. We get emotion, history, suspense and Germany’s favourite street food all in one.

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