The Danish Girl

The Danish Girl, by David Ebershoff
The Danish Girl, by David Ebershoff

This is a beautifully written novel, my criteria being that never once was I ejected from the prose by what felt like an out of place word. I enjoyed the portrayal of deeply interesting characters with unique life experiences, and took it at its word that it was not trying to portray a real historical event, merely taking inspiration from one.

There were things I found completely satisfying: the artists at work, the rich locations, the identity confusion we all face–to greater or lesser extent–as we come of age and our physical bodies mature. What I see as the true strength of the book is the way it illuminates the shining acceptance and flexibility of good people, acting from a place of love.

There were also things in the book that disturbed me: I wanted just a little more medical details (not graphic) in order to understand the mechanics of what was physically happening. Not enough to want to look them up, but if the book let me down in some way it was in denying my modern understanding of medicine with hints instead of descriptions. Certain interactions that I longed for between characters were also left out. I think this portrays the reality of life, it doesn’t get tied up in a neat little bow, but I was sad as a reader not to be gifted by the author with certain scenes between characters.

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