I Married You for Happiness
By Lily Tuck
(Grove Press, Paperback, 9780802145918, 193pp.)
Publication Date: September 2012
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His hand is growing cold, still she holds it,” is how this riveting, deeply moving story of a forty-three year old marriage by National Book Award winner Lily Tuck begins. Unfolding over a single night, Nina sits at the bedside of her husband, Philip, whose sudden and unexpected death is the reason for her lonely vigil. Too shocked yet to grieve, she lets herself remember the defining moments of their long marriage, beginning with their first meeting in Paris. She is an artist, he a highly accomplished mathematicianit was a collision of two different worlds that merged to form an intricate and passionate love.
Slender, powerful, and utterly engaging, I Married You For Happiness is not only an elegant elegy to a man and a marriage, but also a meditation on the theory of probability and how chance can affect both a life and one’s consideration of an afterlife.
- In the opening pages, we meet a widow who is stunned to lose the husband she was devoted to and depended on. What happens in the narrative to modify this first impression? Also, discuss how Nina grieves: “With her free hand, she touches her face to make sure” (p. 4); “Again she thinks about those dark-skinned, Mediterranean women, women in veils, women with long messy hair, and she wishes she could beat her breast and wail” (p. 6).