This book was published in 2001 and the motion picture will be released in late fall starring Eddie Redmayne. The book is loosely based upon the painters Einar and Greta Wegener in the 1930’s in Denmark. Einar has had gender issues his entire life. It becomes more apparent to him when his wife asks him to stand in and dress in women’s clothing when her models are not available for her to paint. Einar becomes very comfortable dressing as a woman and eventually begins to venture out as one – names Lili. Eventually, the paintings of Lili make Greta very successful and the paintings in demand, Lili is needed to pose often for his wife.
I did not want the book to end, and I found that I could not put the book down. With that said, I recommend it to readers but I did have some issues with the novel. I felt somewhat disappointed the book never went into detail about the environment in Denmark or in Paris that Einer or Greta faced to one being transgender in the 1930’s. Did Einar ever get harassed? How did the couple’s social life change? How did Greta feel losing her husband to a female companion? Did she feel guilty that she made her husband pose, maybe having a hand in his eventually transformation? Was she supportive of her husband and his desires to be a woman out of guilt? Perhaps the movie out this fall, early winter may shed some light.