The Danish Girl: A Novel
It starts with a question, a simple favor asked of a husband by his wife on an afternoon chilled by the Baltic wind while both are painting in their studio. Her portrait model has canceled, and would he mind slipping into women's shoes and stockings for a few moments so that she can finish the painting on time? "Of course," he answers, "Anything at all." With that, one of the most passionate and unusual love stories of the twentieth century begins.
Inspired by the true story of Danish painter Einar Wegener and his California-born wife; this tender portrait of a marriage asks: What do you do when someone you love wants to change? Einar dresses more and more as Lili - the name given to her by Greta - and what started off as a game becomes a way of life for Greta and Einar. With Lili as her muse, Greta's paintings begin to flourish. A French art dealer spots her work and the couple moves to Paris for the sake of Greta's career. In the permissive air of Paris between the wars, Lili is liberated and increasingly becomes Greta's companion on public outings. As Einar fades into memory they realize that a choice must be made: Lili or Einar. Greta finds a surgeon-psychologist at the Dresden Municipal Women's Clinic, and Einar travels to Germany to become, once and for all, Lili Elbe.