Reviews of Danish Girl, the (2000)
Review by nzilla (2005-06-22)
A marriage complicates in twentieth century Europe as a man discovers with the help of his wife that he identifies himself more as a woman than as a man. This is the plot of David Ebershoff's first novel, The Danish Girl, which is an interesting read, but has a couple of flaws in this reviewer's opinion.
Basically, what makes the book enjoyable is the author's succinct yet still descriptive, literary, and beautiful prose and the novelty of the situation. The major flaw is that besides the wife and the two aspects of the husband, no character is given much time to develop. The majority of the dialogue is between the two (or maybe three), and despite a couple of albeit unique quirks, neither character is particularly complex, though they still manage to be mostly believable. The novel also seems to gloss over somewhat the emotional change of the protagonist losing his initial shame in transvestitism in the beginning of the story, losing an opportunity for some internal drama in this surprisingly conflict-free book.
Still, this book is both an interesting read and an impressive first novel. Also, perhaps readers more well-versed in the issues of transgendered people would derive more enjoyment from the book than this reviewer. 6/10