Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $4.99 shipping
The Danish Girl: A Novel (Movie Tie-In) Paperback – October 27, 2015
|New from||Used from|
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Though the title character of David Ebershoff's debut novel is a transsexual, the book is less concerned with transgender issues than the mysterious and ineffable nature of love. Loosely based on the life of Danish painter Einar Wegener who, in 1931, became the first man to undergo a sex-change operation, The Danish Girl borrows the bare bones of his story as a jumping-off point for an exploration of how Wegener's decisions affected the people around him. Chief among these is his Californian wife, Greta, also a painter, who unwittingly sets her husband's feet on the path to transformation. While trying to finish a portrait of an opera singer who has cancelled a sitting, she asks Einar to stand in for her subject, putting on her dress, stockings, and shoes. The moment silk touches his skin, he is shaken:
Einar could concentrate only on the silk dressing his skin, as if it were a bandage. Yes, that was how it felt the first time: the silk was so fine and airy that it felt like a gauze--a balm-soaked gauze lying delicately on healing skin. Even the embarrassment of standing before his wife began to no longer matter, for she was busy painting with a foreign intensity in her face. Einar was beginning to enter a shadowy world of dreams where Anna's dress could belong to anyone, even to him.Greta soon recognizes her husband's affinity for feminine attire, and encourages him not only to dress like a woman, but to take on a woman's persona, as well. "Why don't we call you Lili?" she suggests. What starts out as a harmless game soon evolves into something deeper, and potentially threatening to their marriage. Yet Greta's love proves to be enduring if not immutable. As Einar inexorably transforms, he steps beyond "that small dark space between two people where a marriage exists" and Greta lets him go.
Ebershoff does a remarkable job of historical prestidigitation, creating the sights and sounds and smells of 1930s Denmark and making it seem easy. Even more remarkable is his treatment of Greta: he gets inside her head and heart, and renders her in such loving detail that her reactions make perfect sense. Einar is more of a cipher, and ultimately less interesting than his wife. But in the end, this is Greta's book and David Ebershoff has done her proud. The Danish Girl marks a promising fictional debut. --Sheila Bright --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Ebershoff, the publishing director at Modern Library, has taken a highly unusual subject--and a big chance--for his first novel. That it comes off triumphantly is a tribute to his taste and restraint and to the highly empathetic quality of his imagination. His book is based on the real-life story of Einar Wegener, a Danish artist who 70 years ago became the first man to be medically transformed into a woman--long before the much better-known case of Christine Jorgensen. Ebershoff has naturally changed some of the characters, giving Einar an American wife from his own native city of Pasadena, thereby introducing a New World perspective on the drama. For a very real drama it is. Einar struggles with his inclinations to become the woman he and his wife, Greta, refer to as Lili, seemingly more agonized about what the change would mean than Greta, who is deeply loving and amazingly supportive throughout Einar's long ordeal. Seldom has the delicate question of sexual identity been more subtly probed (one would have to go all the way back to Jan Morris's autobiographical Conundrum); and Ebershoff's remarkable feel for the period atmosphere and detail of 1920s Copenhagen and early-'30s Dresden, where Lili's life-transforming operation is finally performed, has been poetically and intensely rendered. The portraits of the various medical men who offer their very different solutions to the problem are brilliantly accomplished. The original story ended much more unhappily than Ebershoff's, but his poignant and visionary conclusion is a fitting one for what is, above all, and despite its sensationalist trimmings, a profound and beautifully realized love story. Eight-city author tour; rights sold in Germany, Italy, U.K., Spain, Australia, Brazil, Finland, Portugal, the Netherlands and Denmark. (Feb.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
It's an interesting story over all... man who doesn't know he's a hermaphrodite gradually becoming more and more female in a time period where these things were not well understood... but there were a lot of details that got on my nerves. Greta never once asks her husband to explain why he's dressing as a girl; she just blindly accepts and encourages him. This is not realistic at all for the time period. It's also odd that Greta and Einar treat his female persona like a separate third person who inserted herself in their marriage. I found it unbelievable that nobody on the streets ever once guessed that Lili was Einar dressed up, and that nobody in his adult social life bothered him about it. They all accepted his/her behavior without question, as Greta did. The author has painted us a detrimentally idealist picture that does not suspend disbelief. It would have been more realistic to show some of the discrimination that the real-life Einar no doubt had to overcome. What remained of my suspension of disbelief failed completely when the first straight man Einar dated as Lili fell in love with him/her immediately, and they go on to live happily ever after as a "straight couple." This might be a popular Hollywood trope, but that's what it is-- a trope.
Also, there are many details that make me think the male author doesn't know a single thing about female anatomy or how it works. Einar starts menstruating out of his nose halfway through the book. The author claims in the afterword that the nose menstruation is supposedly accurate to Einar Wegener's personal account of his transition. I'm betting he got bad nosebleeds because he was frail and author took some egregious liberties with it. The author also glossed over a lot of the details of Einar's hermaphroditism so he could paint him as a Trans pioneer who felt so female inside that me magically started to look it on the outside. Which is not how that works either.
I would not recommend this. It's a meh book with far too much idealism and blatantly unrealistic reactions/behavior/scenarios. I wasn't sure if I was reading literary fiction or an offbeat Cinderella story, and I struggled to finish it. I'm pretty sure the shock value of the unusual subject matter is the only reason this was hyped so much.
While I knew the bones of this historic surgery, that left enormous gaps in the lives which drove the patient to risk so much pain and death to have her body be matched to her authentic inner self... and the depth of her relationship with a lover and wife able to love, support, and release her to follow that oh so perilous and painful path toward dreams of a complete transition. We cannot KNOW all the inner lives of the cast during this time, but this story feels very true to a handful of quite dramatic times and lives. We can learn from and share from this haunting and beautiful telling of the story the depths of sorrow and the heights of ambition that fill the lives of those with gender identity disorder or the intersexed among us. It succeeds brilliantly in that regard, beyond being simply a spectacular novel.
I seldom review novels, perhaps 2% of those that I read unless I am very significantly moved by it and feel that I have learned and grown as a human being by the experience. No novel that I have read in the last few decades has moved me as greatly as has The Danish Girl. I will be strongly recommending it to all my friends.