Potent and utterly engaging, I Married You For Happiness combines marriage, mathematics, and the probability of an afterlife to create Lily Tuck's most affecting and riveting book yet.
"His hand is growing cold, still she holds it" is how this novel that tells the story of a marriage begins. The tale unfolds over a single night as Nina sits at the bedside of her husband, Philip, whose sudden and unexpected death is the reason for her lonely vigil. Still too shocked to grieve, she lets herself remember the defining moments of their long union, beginning with their meeting in Paris. She is an artist, he a highly accomplished mathematician: a collision of two different worlds that merged to form an intricate and passionate love. As we move through select memories - real and imagined - Tuck reveals the most private intimacies, dark secrets, and overwhelming joys that defined Nina and Philip's life together.
©2011 Original material © 2011 Lily Tuck. (P)2011 (p) 2011 HighBridge Company
"A breathlessly mannered, affecting new work. . . . Small, vital snapshots make up two lives closely shared, and beautifully portrayed in this triumph of a novel." (Publishers Weekly [HC starred review])
The narrator's tone is perfect for this death-watch mosaic of an artist's memories as she sits alone for one night with her deceased mathematician husband. The novel captures the immediate grief mixed with concern for the future, mixed good and bad memories, and the conditions of the death room. The author's narrative device does require the reader's belief in an outstanding memory for detail including mathematical thought problems posed by the husband to his classes and his wife. A couple of other challenges for careful listening include: firstly, untranslated Italian and French are sprinkled throughout appropriate to the well-travelled, highly educated folks involved; secondly the pieces of memory about the couple's life together abut abruptly with the present and other past events, also appropriate to memories called out during grief.
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