Family/Valentine's Day long weekend has come and gone. Already we are getting nearer to Spring, which means more exciting things are coming our way!
One of the great things about this book club is the opportunity to take on books that we often probably wouldn't have given a second thought, and appreciating that we did! Such an instance could be said of The Danish Girl. Telling a story that contains heavy subject matter can go one of both ways: very well or a big miss. So I was very glad to hear that everyone quite enjoyed this read! The Danish Girl was a wonderful and eye-opening account on what it means to be human, and just how far one would go for love.
A big thanks to David Ebershoff for making our month, in answering our questions for our Author Q & A! It's always such a special treat to hear more of the behind-the-scenes of our reads and to hear their thoughts.
See you next month!
Thank you to everyone who attended this month's meeting. It was a very lovely brunch at Colette Grand Cafe! Below, is the Q & A for David Ebershoff. Enjoy!
Q: Which character did you like to write - Greta, Lili, or Einar? Which was the most difficult or which one surprised you the most?
A: I love these characters for different reasons. Lili, for her courage, determination, and sense of wonder and belief in the future. Metaphorically, Lili’s story is one of rebirth. So this was an interesting writing challenge. The challenge with Greta was to write her in a complex way — to show her remarkable love for Lili, her seemingly bottomless support, while also showing her complicated responses to what was happening to her spouse and to her marriage. Greta is both selfless and selfish, and I needed to show that in a nuanced, empathetic way.
Q: Did you know what happened to Gerda after separating from Lili? Did Gerda move to the U.S.? Did she actually become a Baroness?
A: She ended up marrying an officer from the Italian Air Force, someone who had many of the qualities that Hans has. She never stopped drawing/painting Lili and a few years after Lili’s death she tried to buy back one of her favorite Lili paintings that she sold in 1928. She died in 1940, mostly forgotten, just as Lili was mostly forgotten until somewhat recently.
Q: My main question is why dedicate so much of the book to Greta? I would have liked more of what was going on in Einar and Lili's mind.
Why did he change Gerda to Greta? Why change her from Danish to a brash rich American woman? Am very interested!
A: As much as this is a story about identity it’s also a story about love and marriage. Lili’s life would have been different if she had had to transition on her own. For me, I decided the way to tell this story was as a love story. I also find Greta’s journey as complex and uncharted as Lili’s. Both women had to navigate their lives, and their paths forward, without any kind of role models or examples to look to. Both were pioneers.
Q: If you could invite anyone, dead or alive for dinner, who would it be?
A: Right now, my answer has to be Lili Elbe.I’m going to Dresden in April to participate in a ceremony to lay a new headstone at her grave (her original headstone is missing — probably destroyed in World War II). Lili is very much on my mind and I would like to spend time with her and toast her and thank her for being so brave.
This Month's Selection: Member's Choice
On a spontaneous whim, this months' choice was Member's Choice- at this month's meeting, I discussed what genre we should pursue and non-fiction was the popular choice. After a few suggestions, Cheryl Strayed's "Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar" became a pick that everyone wanted to give a shot. So let's give it a go! Happy Reading!
Summary: Life can be hard: your lover cheats on you; you lose a family member; you can’t pay the bills—and it can be great: you’ve had the hottest sex of your life; you get that plum job; you muster the courage to write your novel. Sugar—the once-anonymous online columnist at The Rumpus, now revealed as Cheryl Strayed, author of the bestselling memoir Wild—is the person thousands turn to for advice. Tiny Beautiful Things brings the best of Dear Sugar in one place and includes never-before-published columns and a new introduction by Steve Almond. Rich with humor, insight, compassion—and absolute honesty—this bookis a balm for everything life throws our way.