The Danish Girl

The Danish Girl

A Novel

Book - 2000
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Baker & Taylor
A novel set in Copenhagen, Paris, and Dresden in the 1920s, introduces a man who discovers he is a woman, and the woman who will do anything for him, in a tale of love and marriage in the midst of fundamental crisis.

Blackwell North Amer
It starts with a question, a simple favor asked of a husband by his wife on an afternoon chilled by the Baltic wind while both are painting in their studio. Her portrait model has canceled, and would he mind slipping into women's shoes and stockings for a few moments so that she can finish the painting on time? "Of course," he answers, "Anything at all." With that, one of the most passionate and unusual love stories of the twentieth century begins.
Inspired by the true story of Danish painter Einar Wegener and his California-born wife; this tender portrait of a marriage asks: What do you do when someone you love wants to change? Einar dresses more and more as Lili - the name given to her by Greta - and what started off as a game becomes a way of life for Greta and Einar. With Lili as her muse, Greta's paintings begin to flourish. A French art dealer spots her work and the couple moves to Paris for the sake of Greta's career. In the permissive air of Paris between the wars, Lili is liberated and increasingly becomes Greta's companion on public outings. As Einar fades into memory they realize that a choice must be made: Lili or Einar. Greta finds a surgeon-psychologist at the Dresden Municipal Women's Clinic, and Einar travels to Germany to become, once and for all, Lili Elbe.

& Taylor

Set in decadent 1920s Copenhagen, this tender tale of love and marriage in the midst of fundamental crisis introduces a man who discovers he's a woman and the woman who will do anything for him. Original.

Publisher: New York : Viking, 2000
ISBN: 9780670888085
Characteristics: 270 p. ; 24 cm


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AL_KIRSTEN Mar 24, 2017

A well-written fictionalization of an interesting person in a different time. I admired the strength of the relationships between the characters, and wanted all of them to achieve what they desired. Suspenseful and intimate.

AL_WENDY Aug 29, 2016

Some of the strongest and most compassionate characters in literary history. Greta became my hero and I wanted Lili to get her heart's desire so badly!

Jun 24, 2016

I got confused if the man or the women were speaking the transition was weird

Nov 17, 2015

This is a fantastic novel--beautifully written historical fiction that creates a very strong sense of place and time and explores two very distinctive characters and the subtle shifts of power within their relationship. The sentences are gorgeous, but not distracting, and I raced through the novel wanting to see how the character would grow and change. Ebershoff also manages the difficult job of plausibly imagining how two people from a very different time might have thought about being intersex and transgender at a time when their was no public conversation about those ways of being.
My only caveat: the novel is so much of its era it wouldn't be useful for readers who don't know anything about intersex & trans people and are looking for an introduction to those experiences; Lili's analogs today live in a vastly different world that understands and misunderstands them differently. But I can't fault a novel for serving its characters instead of public education.

Oct 12, 2013

Hmmm The audio reader isn't the best & the first chapter just put me off. Boring conversations between man/wife. Not a recommend unless you want some fairly explicit explanation of acts I'd rather not hear about.

Oct 13, 2012

This book reads more like a travelogue than a novel. The sentences are overly long, often wandering off topic. It totally misrepresents the actual relationship between the couple.

Jun 18, 2012

An unusual story, beautifully written.


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