Love stories come in many forms. The love of man and woman has been told and retold throughout the years. Yet we still read these stories. Why? Because they all touch us in some way. They all touch on the most basic of human emotions. They all center on the one thing we want most in this world --- love. THE DANISH GIRL, an intoxicating novel by David Ebershoff, is a different kind of love story, but one that is tender and moving and touches us in the most profound ways.
THE DANISH GIRL is based on the real --- and almost forgotten --- life of Einar Wegener, a Danish painter, and his California-born wife Greta Waud, a brash heiress living the bohemian life in Copenhagen. Greta has married Einar, her painting teacher, against everyone's wishes. When Greta asks Einar to help her complete a portrait of a female opera singer by filling in as her model, one pose in stockings awakens in him a gradually discernible instinct and an ultimate realization.
Einar Wegener is the first person to undergo a gender reassignment operation.
This is their story, a story of what it means to be a man and a woman. It is a story about identity and the definitions of love. It is a story about change and evolution and transformation. It is a story of what connects men and women --- and what separates them. It is the story of love, in a profound and startling new way.
Set against the glitz and decadence of 1920s Copenhagen, Dresden and Paris, THE DANISH GIRL captures the moments and mood of the time as well as a marriage in the most extraordinary of circumstances. Written with lush prose and emotional insight, this book is sure to create a buzz in the literary world.
Similar to the successful novels MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA and HITLER'S NIECE, THE DANISH GIRL is a wondrous book. Ebershoff, the publishing director of The Modern Library, has written a fascinating first novel. It is a story you will not soon forget.
Reviewed by Jonathan Shipley on January 21, 2011
The Danish Girl