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The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff
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The Danish Girl (original 2000; edition 2015)

by David Ebershoff (Author)

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9653616,294 (3.69)32
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?"
Member:Aly23
Title:The Danish Girl
Authors:David Ebershoff (Author)
Info:W&N (2015), Edition: 01, 336 pages
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The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff (2000)

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English (33)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (36)
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
I really enjoyed it and I feel temped to give it 4 stars.

It is a tender story of how gender, sexuality, marriage and even love is fluid and changing. I have some of the same complains about it already posted by other reviewers: some passages are repetitive, others are somewhat diluted and confusing. I too wonder if there was not enough material in Gerda and Einar/Lily Wegener's lives to allow the author to stay more true to the real people on which this story is based.

Yet, I am really glad I stumbled into it. I am looking forward to the movie coming out this month. ( )
  RosanaDR | Apr 15, 2021 |
Interesting, well-written, lots of psychological levels here....Set in 1925-30 Europe (Copenhagen, Paris, Dresden) it is the story of Greta and Einar Wegener, 2 artists each with an interesting past the other doesn't know much about. When Greta's portrait subject, an opera singer, can't make her pose appointment, Greta recruits her husband Einar to put on her dress and shoes and pose instead. A whole tidal wave of change is set in motion with that simple act. Einar begins to dress as a woman more frequently and even assumes a name for him/herself in that role: Lily. Eventually he wants to actually become Lily and German Dr. Boulk takes on the sex change surgery which is revolutionary at the time. This is a long, slow process and to see Greta and Einar's relationship evolve along with Einar's transformation is very touching. She is 100% supportive even though it means losing her husband. Things become complicated too (what a tangled web we weave) when Greta starts to paint Lily and begins to have international success as an artist. Einar's career had been the successful one prior to this. And his creative energy is now channeled inward as he becomes a new person. Another layer of complication is the introduction of Hans, Einar's boyhood friend (and crush) who is an art dealer, represents Greta's work, but also has designs on her. Though this is all very soap-opera-ish it doesn't come across that way due to the deft and understated story telling. What was surprising (and hard to swallow) was the acceptance in that time period of Einar's transformation. Yes, they are bohemian artists, and yes, this is Europe, but Nazism is on the rise in Germany and there are still so many sexual taboos in that era. Greta's twin brother, Carlisle is wholly supportive as is Hans and Anna, the opera singer, not to mention all Dr. Boulk's affiliations. When Lily wants to undergo a final surgery to have a uterus implanted and possibly bear children, some of that support wavers, especially Greta's. She is not objecting to the surgery itself, but Lily's weakness and ability to survive it. The ending is rather ambiguous if symbolic and left me wanting more. Part Pygmalion, part Icarus, it is still a fascinating, well done look at the need to be true to self and the grace of others to accept it. ( )
  CarrieWuj | Oct 24, 2020 |
Tender and touching. I love that as much as this story is Lili's, it is also Greta's, and they each play such a monumental and irreplaceable role in each other's lives and in this pivotal historical milestone. ( )
  piquareste | Jun 3, 2020 |
Highest I can give it ( )
  kvschnitzer | Dec 8, 2019 |
I very much enjoyed this story and was interested to know it is based on true characters. It seems strange that such liberties were taken with them however. The California connection appeared forced and I was quite glad it was ignored in the film version.
  rosiezbanks | Oct 19, 2018 |
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For Mark Nelson
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His wife knew first.
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Her mother's eyebrows, which were gray as pigeon feathers, arched up.
Things are said in the great cave of wedlock, and thankfully most just hover, small and black and harmlessly upside down like a sleeping bat.
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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?"

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Average: (3.69)
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HighBridge Audio

An edition of this book was published by HighBridge Audio.

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HighBridge

An edition of this book was published by HighBridge.

» Publisher information page

 

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