Erin's Reviews > The Danish Girl

The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff
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May 04, 10

** spoiler alert ** Review written for

In the 1920’s, Denmark saw the rise of one of its most renowned artistic couples, Einar and Greta Wegener. Einar was a native Dane, born and raised in the bogs of Bluetooth by an elderly grandmother and a bedridden father. Motherless and alone, Einar befriended the son of the Baron who helps Einar break out of his shell and learn his first lesson about gender identity. After years of smothering his feminine feelings, Einar picks up the paintbrush and loses himself in the scenic panoramas of his art.

Greta Waud grew up in the orange groves of California. Heiress to her parent’s orange empire, Greta constantly felt the need to escape her life and found this escape in her first husband, Teddy, and then in Copenhagen. Greta’s first marriage ended with the death of her husband and her child. Greta’s second marriage ended with a death and a birth. But, Greta’s artistic career flourishes when she begins to paint her favorite subject, a shy but pretty young woman named Lili.

The Danish Girl is a fictionalized account of the life of Einar Wegener, Danish painter and the first person to undergo gender reassignment surgery. It is also a story about love, marriage, loss, and metamorphosis. David Ebershoff does a wonderful job of portraying the depth of love that one person can have for another and the almost split personality that the transgendered must endure in order to cope with a body that doesn’t match with who they are. A motion picture based upon The Danish Girl is in the works.


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