The Danish Girl: 02/14/13
The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff is a fictionalized account of Einar Wegener's transformation into Lili Eiber. When the model for his wife's current painting fails to show, Einar agrees to don the costume and pose in her place. And then he begins to realize he's more comfortable being a woman. Soon he is spending most of his time as Lili Eiber.
The book is set in Finland and in Pasadena, in flashback. Einar's wife was raised in Pasadena, California. I enjoyed seeing the city at the turn of the last century, through the early 1920s, through her memories. Her emersion in the California school of art (plein air painting of sweeping landscapes in bold colors) played against Einar's small, subdued landscapes that he had fallen out of habit of painting. Through their artwork, then, their relationship and personalities are introduced and explored.
I read The Danish Girl in the same weeks as Parrotfish — a YA novel about a female to male transgender teen. The striking difference between the two is the level of support Lili receives from her wife and their friends. How much support the actual Lili received, I don't know. As a story of support in a potentially difficult stage of life — it's a lovely novel.
Recommended by the Zen Leaf
Comment #1: Friday, February 15, 2013 at 09:57:58
I'm intrigued. I think I may have heard of this one at some point, but I just added it to my GR shelves. Thanks for the review. Now I'm curious about the real Lili.
Comment #2: Friday, February 15, 2013 at 21:09:59
I think when the book was optioned for a film, it was suddenly popular on GoodReads. It was during that buzz that I heard about it.