Now an Academy Award-winning major motion picture, starring Academy Award-winners Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander and directed by Academy Award-winner Tom Hooper
National Bestseller * A New York Times Notable Book * Winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Fiction * Winner of the Rosenthal Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters * Finalist for the New York Public Library Young Lions Award * Finalist for the American Library Association Stonewall Book Award
Loosely inspired by a true story, this tender portrait of marriage asks: What do you do when the person you love has to change? It starts with a question, a simple favor asked by a wife of her husband while both are painting in their studio, setting off a transformation neither can anticipate. Uniting fact and fiction into an original romantic vision, The Danish Girl eloquently portrays the unique intimacy that defines every marriage and the remarkable story of Lili Elbe, a pioneer in transgender history, and the woman torn between loyalty to her marriage and her own ambitions and desires. The Danish Girl’s lush prose and generous emotional insight make it, after the last page is turned, a deeply moving first novel about one of the most passionate and unusual love stories of the 20th century.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Made into an award-winning film, The Danish Girl is a fictionalised take on the life of Lili Elbe (born Einar Wegener), who in 1930 underwent one of the first successful gender-reassignment surgeries. From Lili’s pre-surgical double life with supportive artist wife Greta Waud to her landmark surgery at a German clinic, novelist David Ebershoff chronicles each step of this extraordinary, sometimes harrowing life with enormous sensitivity and passion. We found inspiration in his eloquent and beautifully executed portrait of someone becoming the person she was born to be.
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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Beautifully written. A novel both ahead and behind the times
This book is so much more to me than a love story. It's a journey of two people becoming who they were meant to be. I would recommend this book but I would caution you to leave a closed mind behind before page one.
Well worth read
I've read this novel from a local Pasadena writer a few years ago and still remains as one of my favorite books ever. There comes a time in relationships when after doing small gestures or offering help can lead to doors one never wonders about. Can you imagine being in their shoes and coming to the conclusion that the life you know isn't exactly for you?