cover image The Danish Girl

The Danish Girl

David Ebershoff, read by Jeff Woodman, Highbridge, unabridged, 11 CDs, 11.5 hrs., $34.95 ISBN 978-1-6157-3087-2

Ebershoff's bestseller—based on the true story of 1920s married artists Einar and Gerda Gottleib Wegener—makes a rocky transition to audio. After posing in women's clothing for his wife's portrait work, Einar explores a preference for appearing as a woman. Eventually, he undergoes sex reassignment surgery and becomes Lili Elbe. The narration switches between Lili's and Gerda's points of view, and listeners might be left wondering why the Einar/Lili characterization seems to be a split personality, with Einar and Lili thinking of the other as separate, and both Einar and Gerda viewing Lili as a third individual. It's a confusing and dry listen made more puzzling by the decision to have the audiobook narrated by a male reader, when so much of the story is told from Gerda and Lili's viewpoints. Nevertheless, Jeff Woodman turns in a solid performance. He has a smooth voice and delivery; he gives Lili with a softness and timidity that sounds fitting and has Gerda sounding more assertive and confident. A Penguin hardcover. (June)