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I Married You For Happiness Hardcover – 19 Jan 2012


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (19 Jan. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007449143
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007449149
  • Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 2.2 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,042,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lily Tuck was born in Paris and is the author of four previous novels - Interviewing Matisse, The Woman Who Walked on Water, the PEN/Faulkner award finalist Siam and The News From Paraguay, which won the National Book Award - as well as a collection of stories, Limbo, and Other Places I Have Lived. Her fiction has appeared in the New Yorker and the Paris Review. She lives in New York City.

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Review

Praise for ‘I Married You For Happiness’:

“Captivating . . . Absorbing… You also won’t un-read this odd little book once you’ve finished it. It will make you chafe. It will strike a chord.” – Marie Arana, The Washington Post

“In mourning, the only comfort of science is to assert the uncertainty of all that appears real. And perhaps that is what this slight, plangent novel is telling us: that character is unreadable, that memory is perilous.” – Colin Thubron, NYT

“This slim brush of a book manages to accomplish in a mere 200-plus pages what many novelists try to do in twice the verbiage. . . . Examines the disguises and surprises that energize a lasting marriage.”—Ellen Emry Heltzel, The Seattle Times

“A magical, truthful tale.”— Huffington Post

‘This novel is an elegant vigil… a poised, readable, immediate novel’ Kate Kellaway, Observer

About the Author

Lily Tuck was born in Paris and is the author of four previous novels – Interviewing Matisse, The Woman Who Walked on Water, the PEN/Faulkner award finalist Siam and The News From Paraguay, which won the National Book Award – as well as a collection of stories, Limbo, and Other Places I Have Lived. Her fiction has appeared in the New Yorker and the Paris Review. She lives in New York City.


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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Arkgirl VINE VOICE on 10 Mar. 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A wife holds her husband's hand, he has died suddenly from an heart attack and she needs time to say goodbye. Nina and Philip [or Nin and Phi i as it appropriately says on her worn wedding ring] have been married for 43 years and this book consists of a flit through memories of Nina's life with Philip as she keeps her overnight vigil by his bed. The memories are random and you don't always know the exact chronology, she is a cultured lady and they have spent much of their life in Europe so there are several quotes in French [and a few in Italian] that are not translated [this might frustrate non-linguists], but both the time and changing language fit with the haphazard connecting of remembrances over a life together.
Philip is a mathematician and incredibly passionate about the subject; there is much sharing of concepts and ideas that surprisingly seem to have stuck in Nina's head despite the fact that she sometimes seems to be glazing over listening to them. If you are someone who struggles with maths you can still enjoy this book and just skim through these bits as there is much else to enjoy, it is almost poetic in style and there is something very visual with the vignettes described from their first meeting in a french cafe onwards.
Nina's art is not explored and shared in as much detail but there are glimpses of her work but if she obsesses about anything it is about the possibility of Philip's 'betraying' her - she seems to have a very jealous streak and this provides one of the most amusing scenes at Philip's work!
Their relationship with their only daughter, Louise, is also woven into her reminiscences and the fact that she doesn't yet know of her father's death and thus is 'still alive' in her world links in with some of the concepts explored in Philip's work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By MisterHobgoblin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 26 Jan. 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Nina discovers that Philip, her husband of 43 years, has popped upstairs and dropped dead on the bed. There was no warning. Nina lies down next to him and spends the night remembering events of their marriage as he slowly goes cold.

Other books of this ilk feel claustrophobic and intense. I Married You For Happiness is quite the opposite. The memories are short and fragmentary, generally happy and carefree even when they shouldn't be. A story unfolds of a marriage of travel, adventure, the odd affair and mathematics. Philip was a maths teacher and the memories are interspersed with wonderful vignettes of logic, maths and probability. Well, they are wonderful if you love maths as much as me, otherwise they may well grate. There are also plentiful quotations in French and Italian which, mercifully, are not translated into plodding English. Either the reader will get them or the reader won't - but it doesn't really matter. Few of the details actually matter in this stream of consciousness, non-linear biography. And as the novel progresses, it becomes clear that Nina is not just recounting facts but also making hypotheses, some of which contradict each other. It's a short read but quite a difficult one. The reader really needs to concentrate to keep on top of things. It's well written and the characters are complex. The story is very much one of love and loyalty - ironically thrown into relief when the loyalty has momentary lapses.

The one thing that is troubling in the book is the lack of grief or any obvious sense of loss. One can't help feeling that Nina should have some bouts of anguish during her reminiscences.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nicola in South Yorkshire VINE VOICE on 22 Mar. 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Nina is sitting in vigil by the bedside of her dead husband, Philip. He came in from work, said he was going for a lie down, and never got up again. Nina spends the night thinking back over their life together.

This is a short book, less than 200 pages, and although there are no chapters, the book consists of lots of short memories really. This makes it a very quick and easy read. I thought it was a good idea for a story, and I did think it was a decent read, but it was completely lacking in emotion and, given the subject matter, I would have hoped to come away from the book having felt more empathy with the main character.

I think this is worth a read, and it was a good look back over a marriage, but ultimately I came away feeling a little bit dissatisfied.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tim Roast VINE VOICE on 20 Mar. 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book tells the fictional story of Nina reminiscing over her and her husband's (Philip's) life through one night after she finds him dead in their bedroom.

She flits from one memory to another before maybe going back to the same time of the previous memory before moving on again, in a sort of stream of consciousness way. For me this made it a rather fragmented book with the best bits being when a memory was expanded in full before she moved on to the next recollection. (This approach means that if you put the book down you may forget characters by the time they reappear.

Memories mainly focus on their times spent abroad, notably in Paris. In fact this is where they met and there are lots of little bits in French so a passing knowledge of French would be useful (Italian and Spanish also feature but not to the same extent). There are also a few imagined scenes where Nina fills in the gaps, for example Philip's time spent with a woman called Sofia.

Lastly there is a lot of mathematical talk. Maybe Philip is a really boring guy as Maths is pretty much all he talks about. Or maybe he is a really interesting guy because he has such knowledge of his topic. Make up your own mind. Or perhaps that is unfair as he also has an interest in yachting, and an interest in Nina of course, and their daughter Louise (although there are not that many memories with her in which is perhaps a surprise).

So a fragmented story although well-written and quite a quick read too.
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