The Danish Girl

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The Danish Girl
The Danish Girl novel.jpg
First hardcover edition, 2000
Author David Ebershoff
Country United States
Language English
Genre Novel
Publisher Allen & Unwin (Australia)
Viking Press (USA)
Publication date
Media type Print (hardback & paperback)
Pages 324
ISBN ISBN 0670888087
Followed by Pasadena

The Danish Girl is a novel by American writer David Ebershoff, published in 2000 by the Viking Press in the United States and Allen & Unwin in Australia.


The novel is a fictionalized account of the life of Lili Elbe, one of the first people to undergo sex reassignment surgery.[1]


The Danish Girl won the Rosenthal Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Lambda Literary Award. It was also a finalist for the New York Public Library's Young Lions Award and an American Library Association Award, and was a New York Times Notable Book.

Film adaptation[edit]

The novel is being adapted into a feature film directed by Tom Hooper, and starring Eddie Redmayne as Einar Wegener, Alicia Vikander as Gerda Wegener, and Amber Heard as Oola. Matthias Schoenerts and Ben Whishaw also starring.[2]

Originally, the film was to be directed by Tomas Alfredson, who was later replaced by Lasse Hallström. A number of actresses have also been linked to the project, including Nicole Kidman, Marion Cotillard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Charlize Theron and Rachel Weisz.[3]


In The New York Times Book Review, novelist and critic John Burnham Schwartz called the novel "arresting": "I hope people will read 'The Danish Girl.' It is fascinating and humane."[4] Critic Richard Bernstein wrote The New York Times, "Mr. Ebershoff is telling us that love does involve a small dark space. The intelligence and tactfulness of his exploration of it make his novel a noteworthy event."[5]


The novel has been translated into more than ten languages and is published in paperback by Penguin.


  1. ^ John Burnham Schwartz, "Metamorphosis," The New York Times Book Review, February 27, 2000.
  2. ^ "The Danish Girl". IMDb. Retrieved January 5, 2015. 
  3. ^ Toro, Gabe. "Les Miserables Cohorts Eddie Redmayne, Tom Hooper Reuniting For The Danish Girl". Cinema Blend. Retrieved January 5, 2015. 
  4. ^ John Burnham Schwartz, "Metamorphosis," The New York Times Book Review, February 27, 2000.
  5. ^ Richard Bernstein, "'The Danish Girl': Radical Change and Enduring Love," The New York Times, February 14, 2000. ("The historical fact is that in 1931 a Danish painter named Einar Wegener became the first man ever to be transformed surgically into a woman, changing her name to Lili Elbe and eventually leaking her story to the press. In 'The Danish Girl' David Ebershoff uses the bare facts of Wegener-Elbe's story to summon a rich imagined universe in which the main event is less the sexual transformation itself than the way that transformation affected other people.")

External links[edit]