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The Danish Girl

(2000)
A novel by

 
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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Used availability for David Ebershoff's The Danish Girl


See all available used copies of this book at Abebooks UK or Abebooks US
 

Hardback Editions

January 2004 : UK Hardback
Title: The Danish Girl
Author(s): David Ebershoff
ISBN: 1-86159-140-3 / 978-1-86159-140-1 (UK edition)
Publisher: W&N
Availability: Amazon UK   

February 2001 : USA Library Binding
Title: The Danish Girl
Author(s): David Ebershoff
ISBN: 0-606-37743-3 / 978-0-606-37743-0 (USA edition)
Publisher: Turtleback Books
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

January 2000 : USA Hardback
Title: The Danish Girl
Author(s): David Ebershoff
ISBN: 0-670-88808-7 / 978-0-670-88808-5 (USA edition)
Publisher: Viking Adult
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

January 2000 : UK Hardback
Title: The Danish Girl
Author(s): David Ebershoff
ISBN: 0-297-64579-X / 978-0-297-64579-5 (UK edition)
Publisher: W&N
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Paperback Editions

December 2015 : UK Paperback
Title: The Danish Girl
Author(s): David Ebershoff
ISBN: 1-4746-0157-X / 978-1-4746-0157-3 (UK edition)
Publisher: W&N
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

October 2015 : UK Paperback
Title: The Danish Girl
Author(s): David Ebershoff
ISBN: 0-14-310839-5 / 978-0-14-310839-9 (UK edition)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

February 2001 : UK Paperback
Title: The Danish Girl
Author(s): David Ebershoff
ISBN: 0-14-029848-7 / 978-0-14-029848-2 (UK edition)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

December 2000 : UK Paperback
Title: The Danish Girl
Author(s): David Ebershoff
ISBN: 0-7538-1079-4 / 978-0-7538-1079-8 (UK edition)
Publisher: W&N
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

2000 : Australia Paperback
Title: The Danish Girl
Author(s): David Ebershoff
ISBN: 1-86508-270-8 / 978-1-86508-270-7 (Australia edition)
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   

Audio Editions

December 2015 : USA Audio edition
Title: The Danish Girl
Author(s): David Ebershoff
Publisher: Orion Publishing Group
Availability: Amazon   

December 2015 : UK Audio edition
Title: The Danish Girl
Author(s): David Ebershoff
Publisher: Orion Publishing Group
Availability: Amazon UK   

April 2012 : USA Audio CD
Title: The Danish Girl
Author(s): David Ebershoff
ISBN: 1-61573-086-9 / 978-1-61573-086-5 (USA edition)
Publisher: HighBridge Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

August 2010 : USA Audio CD
Title: Danish Girl
Author(s): David Ebershoff
ISBN: 1-61573-087-7 / 978-1-61573-087-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: Highbridge Company
Availability: Amazon CA   

March 2010 : USA Audio edition
Title: The Danish Girl
Author(s): David Ebershoff
Publisher: HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books
Availability: Amazon   

Kindle Editions

May 2015 : UK Kindle edition
Title: The Danish Girl
Author(s): David Ebershoff
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Availability: Amazon UK   

February 2001 : USA, Canada Kindle edition
Title: The Danish Girl
Author(s): David Ebershoff
Publisher: Penguin Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   



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