Fiction Ebershoff, David The Danish Girl

ISBN 13: 9780140298482

The Danish Girl

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9780140298482: The Danish Girl

Set in the 1920s and '30s in Copenhagen, Paris and Dresden, and inspired by a true story, The Danish Girl is about one of the most passionate and unusual marriages of the 20th century. Einar Wegener and his American wife Greta Waud have been married for six years, but have yet to have a child. Both painters, they live a life of bohemian langour in Copenhagen until one day their lives are irreversibly altered. An opera singer whose portrait Greta is painting fails to turn up for her sitting. Greta asks her husband if he would put on the soprano's stockings so that she can continue her portrait. Einar agrees and as he pulls on her stockings, slips into her yellow shoes and finally draws over his head the soprano's dress, he stirs up in himself a remote sensation that he might be in part be a woman.

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 painting begins to flourish. A Parisian art dealer spots her work and the couple move to Paris so that Greta can pursue her career as an artist. Lili is liberated too and increasingly becomes Greta's companion. As Einar fades into memory they decide that a choice has to be made: Lili or Einar. Greta finds a doctor in Dresden who is researching sex-change operations and Einar travels to Germany to become once and for all Lili Elbe.

This elegantly written, sensual and engrossing novel is a wonderful celebration of love. With great sensitivity and intelligence, David Ebershoff tells the story of this extraordinary marriage, which survives the hardest test any couple could face. The Danish Girl is an unusually powerful and moving debut.

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Product Description:

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Eddie Redmayne and directed by Tom Hooper, THE DANISH GIRL is a shockingly original novel about one of the most unusual and passionate love stories of the 20th century.

Copenhagen, 1925, the studio of American painter Greta Waud, anxious to put the finishing touches to her latest portrait. But her diva subject has cancelled yet another sitting; how is Greta ever going to get it done? A sudden glint in her eye, and she calls to her husband Elinar.

And so, late on an April afternoon, in a hush of breath and a whisper of white silk, beautiful but tremulous, the Danish girl is born. With her comes a terrible confusion of tortured feelings, of guilty longings and searing fears - and the most ecstatic passion, the most tender love either has ever known.

Review:

Though the title character of David Ebershoff's debut novel is a transsexual, The Danish Girl is less explicitly concerned with transgender issues than the mysterious and ineffable nature of love and transformation in relationships.

Loosely based on the life of Danish painter Einar Wegener who, in 1931, became the first man to undergo a sex-change operation, The Danish Girl borrows the bare bones of his story as a starting point for an exploration of how Wegener's decisions affected the people around him. Chief among these is his Californian wife, Greta, also a painter, who unwittingly sets her husband's feet on the path to transformation when, trying to finish a portrait, she asks Einar to stand in for her female sitter. Putting on her clothes and shoes, he is shaken:

Einar could concentrate only on the silk dressing his skin, as if it were a bandage. Yes, that was how it felt the first time: the silk was so fine and airy that it felt like a gauze--a balm-soaked gauze lying delicately on healing skin. Even the embarrassment of standing before his wife began to no longer matter, for she was busy painting with a foreign intensity in her face. Einar was beginning to enter a shadowy world of dreams where Anna's dress could belong to anyone, even to him.
Greta encourages her husband not only to dress like a woman, but to take on a woman's persona, as well. What starts out as a harmless game soon evolves into something deeper, and potentially threatening to their marriage. Yet Greta's love proves to be enduring if not immutable.

Ebershoff's historical prestidigitation is remarkable, making it seem easy to create the sights and sounds and smells of 1930s Denmark. Even more remarkable is his treatment of Greta: he gets inside her head and heart, and renders her in such loving detail that her reactions make perfect sense. Ebershoff's sensitivity to Greta is one of the finest achievements of this startling first novel; Einar is more of a cipher. In the end, this is Greta's book and David Ebershoff has done her proud. --Sheila Bright

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Book Description Penguin Books, United States, 2012. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 198 x 135 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Nowa major motion picture nominated for four Academy Awards starring Academy Award-winner Eddie Redmayne and directed byAcademy 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 tochange? 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. Bookseller Inventory # ABZ9780140298482

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Book Description Penguin Books, United States, 2012. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 198 x 135 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Nowa major motion picture nominated for four Academy Awards starring Academy Award-winner Eddie Redmayne and directed byAcademy 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 tochange? 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. Bookseller Inventory # ABZ9780140298482

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