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I Married You for Happiness by Lily Tuck
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Loading comments Please try again, the name must be unique. Cancel Post. There are no Independent Premium comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts. Follow comments Enter your email to follow new comments on this article. Thanks for subscribing! Vote Are you sure you want to submit this vote? 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.
Portrait of a marriage sketched by grieving widow
We never keep to the present. We recall the past; we anticipate the future as if we found it too slow in coming and were trying to hurry it up, or we recall the past as if to stay its too rapid flight. We are so unwise that we wander about in times that do not belong to us, and do not think of the only one that does; so vain that we dream of times that are not and blindly flee the only one that is.
The fact is that the present usually hurts. There's nothing more scandalous than a happy marriage. His hand is growing cold; still she holds it. Sitting at his bedside, she does not cry. From time to time, she lays her cheek against his, taking slight comfort in the rough bristle of unshaved hair, and she speaks to him a little. I love you, she tells him.
I always will. Je t'aime , she says. Rain is predicted for Even though Tuck profiles a marriage at its most vulnerable and tragic moments, she also vividly portrays the pleasures and strengths of a marriage partnership. And the ending, although ambiguous and certainly surprising, is the perfect distillation of the novel's themes and preoccupations.
Reviewed by Norah Piehl. Full Review words. This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today. One classic thought experiment i. Tell me again, she whispers to Philip. This time, I promise, I'll try to understand.
In life Philip was often egotistical, demanding, sloppy. He tossed his clothing on the floor, ignored Nina at faculty dinners, and condescendingly tolerated her painting. But Nina was no martyred academic wife. Tuck is an elegant, spare writer who limns her characters in a few swift sentences. When the marriage falters, Nina visits a therapist:.
Nina frets over daughter Louise, who works in San Francisco and has invested in an expensive condominium:. Epistemic probability, or probability based on intuition: chances are I did not leave the oven on before leaving the house. Nina has a recurring nightmare of the infinite: we are to understand that numbers count in all directions, including into nothingness.
Here is Philip, lecturing:. In the acknowledgments Tuck cites numerous mathematical treatises and websites. A widow may count forward from the death of her husband: the first night alone, gradually lightening into the first dawn alone. Philip and Nina are well-off, vacationing in France and on French-speaking islands. Philip indulges his fondness for sailing while Nina shops and sightsees. She is a detached observer of others, an educated woman who has done comparatively little with her talents. Nina has devoted little thought to living alone. Despite the many irritations of marriage, both large and small, marriage to Philip brought Nina happiness.
If you are happily married, your worst fears about your spouse predeceasing you will be miserably, brightly illuminated, the better you may see them in the harshly brilliant light of quality fiction.