This short novel takes place over the course of one night and opens with a death. Nina is calling her husband, Phillip, for dinner and when he doesn’t answer, she immediately senses what has happened. She decides to keep his body overnight - to spend a final night with her husband of 42 years. She holds an all-night vigil by his side and reminisces about their life together. As she is trying to sort her emotions, the memories of their life together return like flashbacks. The purposefully fragmented and non-linear writing style skips back and forth between different decades and the many places around the world that she, an artist, and Philip, a mathematics professor, had lived. She thinks about the secrets she kept from Philip and wonders what he kept from her. Nina wonders if they really knew each other after all these years. She describes their relationship as an ongoing math lesson because of his abstract thinking. I Married You For Happiness is a beautifully written and moving narrative of the ending of a long marriage ultimately has the feel of a classic short story. Lily Tuck gave her characters a poetic voice, and her storytelling makes the characters real. This book is one of my favorite reads of the year.
Sep 1, 2013