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I Married You for Happiness

3.22  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,187 Ratings  ·  282 Reviews
His hand is growing cold, still she holds it. 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, Nina lets herself remember the defining moments of their long union, beginning with their meeting in Paris. She is an artist, he a highly acc ...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published September 6th 2011)
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Aug 26, 2011 Cynthia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Honey, dinner’s ready”, Nina shouts up the stairs. When her husband doesn’t appear she goes upstairs where he’s gone to lie down after a long day teaching mathematics at a local university. She finds him dead. After the next door doctor confirms Philip’s death she sits vigil through the night reflecting on their long (mostly) lovely life together. They’ve lived in France and visited many parts of Europe, South America and the States. He’s logical yet he believes in God. She’s an artist with no ...more


When I choose how many stars to give a book, I simply ask myself did I dislike it (1 star), was it OK (2 stars), did I like it (3 stars), did I really like it (4 stars) or did I find it absolutely, utterly amazing (5 stars). When I am determining the number of stars I will give a book, I do not analyze why, I just make myself honestly consider how I felt when reading the book. I am giving this book two stars. Then comes the hard part, to determine why I have reacted as I have. I do
Michael Estey
Feb 24, 2013 Michael Estey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lily Tuck

I Married You for Happiness

A Book Review

What is it with me lately? I'm so emotional.
Like a little girl.
How can a small book leave me with a tear in my eye?
I'm a grown man. Real men don't cry.

From the first sentence: His hand is growing cold; still she holds it.

I braced myself. Death in the first sentence! Look out, I thought.

To the last sentence: When he sees Nina at the bedroom window, he stops what he is doing and, straightening up tall, he waves to her.

No more tissues left in the
Here i go again, rating a book i didn't finish. I didn't finish it because it was due back at the library and i had no more renewals. Also i realized i had no attachment to the characters. i didn't care about their story, which surprised me and actually made me feel a little sad. I had put off reading this ever since it was published because i was frightened of the potential to be too affected emotionally. But i really wanted to read it, in part to challenge myself, but in part because it was ab ...more
Nov 03, 2011 Erin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Based on the title and on the synopsis on the front cover, I assumed that this would be a novel about a woman reminiscing about her 43 year marriage to her husband that had just died. I assume that most people get married to be happy and look forward to happiness in their marriage. The reality of the novel was that the main character, Nora, was a cold-hearted jerk. I would like to hope that it is possible to be married to someone for a long time and not have a blatant affair. In her case, she ob ...more
Oct 24, 2011 McKenzie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I won an advanced copy of this novel from First Reads on Goodreads- thank you!

Lily Tuck's exploration of a 40 year marriage from the point of view of the wife upon discovering her dead husband in bed is beautiful and concise. She uses her language sparingly, but is able to convey so much with just one sentence. She effortlessly weaves achronologically between the various stages of the marriage: first meeting, courtship, arguments, vacations, affairs, secrets, suspicions, and even mundane conver
Her simple elegant writing style carried me from page to page with crisp sentences and dense descriptions. It’s a lovely portrait of a relationship between an artist and a mathematician. Opposites connected by disparate characteristics. Making it work despite what might seem contrary. Both attracted to culture. To France. Spent every summer there. Nina sits by Philip’s dead body and reflects on the nuances and details of their marriage. She wonders if he truly loved her. If he absolutely loved h ...more
Jul 09, 2013 Stephen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Early evening, a woman's husband comes home, greets her, goes up to their bedroom and dies. She spends the night by his side, looking back on their happy marriage.

That's the plot, such as it is, to author Lily Tuck's "I Married You for Happiness."

Philip and Nina are worldly, educated, and well-traveled so that the stuff of their otherwise anonymous lives does not weigh the reader down in boring, quotidian minutiae.

She is a painter. He is a mathematician specializing in the field of probabilit
Kae Cheatham

When composing the book review of Lily Tuck’s I Married You For Happiness I found myself in a conundrum. The writing style is easy to read, good word choices, and the tone fulfilled the overall thrust of the book. I reread several parts of it, trying to determine why I felt a bit dissatisfied.

I was quite pleased with the unique setting of telling about a 30+ year relationship. There is a death. An unexpected and unexplained death. Philip comes home, says he’ll lie down a bit before dinner, and t

I went into this book certain that it would be depressing, and I couldn't have been more wrong! You can't blame me though when you hear the premise. Nina's making dinner when her husband Philip comes home from work. When she calls him for dinner, she finds him on their bed, dead of an apparent cardiac arrest. The book takes place over that night, as she sits with his body, waiting for morning when she will call the doctor and their daughter and make all the arrangements. She spends the night rem ...more
Jun 29, 2011 A. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This beautifully poetic novel chronicles a 40-year marriage with all its thrills and pain and quiet satisfactions. Nina has found her husband dead in bed. She sits with him all night and remembers their life together. Her thoughts are free floating moving from their courtship in Paris to their lives as parents and professionals in America. We learn of Nina's brief affair and the tragic accident that haunts Philip.
Tuck manages this material beautifully. I felt as though I were in the presence of
Aug 16, 2011 Melissa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This author has one National Book Award and no soul. It's supposed to be an intimate look at a 40-year-marriage: it begins with a woman holding the hand of her husband, who has just died moments before, and follows her through her memories our their relationship from there. But apparently, all her nostalgia's saved for the outfits she was wearing and the exotic locations they visited together and whether or not she was pretty when they went there. Lady, your husband just died! Who cares which st ...more
Greg Z
Feb 16, 2016 Greg Z rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps Nora married for happiness (as in, "I got a nice proposal from a naked man on the beach and he seems nice and the sex is good and he is really smart and has a solid career and I can indulge in my hobby of painting cause I have no other goals, but I don't really love him, and I can have an affair on the side, but one can't have everything anyway.") Perhaps Phillip married for happiness (as in, "I'm proposing on the beach to a lovely and almost naked woman and she's nice and the sex is goo ...more
Bonnie Brody
Feb 28, 2012 Bonnie Brody rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lily Tuck`s novel, I Married You for Happiness, is the story of a woman mourning the sudden death of her husband. It was shortly before dinner when Philip came home from his college teaching position. When Nina calls him for dinner he is dead. She lies by his cold body all night remembering their lives together. The prose is spare and lovely, recalling their joys, passions and pains of their forty-two years together.

Recently, I've read three memoirs about grieving a spouse after sudden death: Jo
Tim Roast
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 th
Aug 16, 2011 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a sucker for books that appeal to this undiagnosed ADD of mine. Though calling Lily Tuck a great Jazz artist (as an earlier reviewer has) is perhaps a more flattering way of describing why I enjoyed this book so much.

I MARRIED YOU FOR HAPPINESS is written in short, thoughtful bursts. While it reminded me a bit of VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD, Lilly Tuck's novel alternates scenes from paragraph to paragraph or even sentence to sentence, has only one narrator, and is refreshingly breezy and engag
Nicole Hazelwood
Coping with the death of a loved one without being able to say goodbye is a very relatable theme and leads to some powerful moments throughout the book... However, the writing is choppy and sometimes jumps to foreign languages without explanation of the meaning, the shifts in past/present of the storytelling is difficult to follow, and I never warmed up to the main character due to a lack of emotion portrayed in each scene.

There is no clear indication of how far back Tuck's characters are trave
Nov 09, 2011 Don rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a steam of conscious style that mimics the way our thoughts jump through the continuity of life, a wife finds her husband dead lying in bed just before dinner. She spends the night reviewing their marriage with all its ups and downs. She is an artist, her husband is a math professor. We see their lives through her artistic perspective and his love of mathematical principles. I loved the way she stops listening to him when he explains complicated math theories and begins thinking about what to ...more
Mar 09, 2012 Kristen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I really did not care for this book. While reading the jacket, I thought this would be a tender trip down memory lane. I actually finished the book with no sympathy for the main character at all. I felt like all of the flashbacks were regarding her affair, her jealously over other women in her husband's life...not to mention the fact that in the flashbacks it felt like Nina couldn't really stand Philip's personality; it made me question how they actually even got married. Also, all the math refe ...more
Apr 22, 2016 ☕Laura rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
This book was not a winner for me. It reminded me of Mrs. Dalloway in that I didn't like these characters, didn't connect with them, and didn't care at all about what had happened to them.
Πάνος Τουρλής
Η Νίνα και ο Φίλιπ είναι παντρεμένοι κι ευτυχισμένοι. Τη βραδιά που ο Φίλιπ πεθαίνει, η Νίνα ξαναζεί τις ευτυχισμένες και τις δύσκολες στιγμές του γάμου τους, την κόρη που απέκτησαν, τη Λουίζ, τα χαμόγελά τους και το κλάμα τους, τις αναποδιές και τις αστείες στιγμές, τις αμφιβολίες και το ξεκαθάρισμα. Δε μας νοιάζει πώς πέθανε ο Φίλιπ, πότε και γιατί. Έτσι ξεκινάει η ιστορία, δεν λέγεται ξεκάθαρα ότι ο Φίλιπ πέθανε. Περιγράφεται η πρώτη σκηνή και μετά αρχίζουν οι αναμνήσεις. Θα μπορούσε να είναι ...more
Angie Fehl
My husband and I recently celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary and being in a lovey frame of mind, pulled this from my shelves. Yeah, not the romantic tale I was expecting.

It starts off with Nina fixing dinner downstairs while her husband, Phillip, is upstairs resting. She calls him down to dinner multiple times but gets no response. Finding this strange, she goes upstairs to their room and finds him dead on their bed. Does she call 911 or anyone else to report the passing? Nope, she spends al
Oct 05, 2015 Gina rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really really did not like this book, despite the rave reviews of the author in general. I did see a lot of mixed reviews on the book itself, so I don't feel so bad now.
It's a shame the characters were so unlikeable, at least to me, because that took away from the premise of the book, which attracted me when I read the description. A whole lifetime of memories in one night? Hmm....I'd like to see how she pulls that off, I thought. Not very well, I discovered. The transitions between past and
Jun 24, 2012 Satarupa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am not a fan of "stream of consciousness" style books, but this is an exception. Perhaps that is because this is not a true stream, but a narrative styled like a stream. It is a beautiful and succinct memory of a marriage and a life together - very real, but almost dreamlike in the way in unfolds. Hands down, one of the most interesting and well written books I've read this year.
Feb 23, 2016 Becky rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am giving this book 2 stars because I can see the symbolism with which it was written, and it is written very close to life. However, as far as an enjoyable book to read, story to get lost in, I give it 1 star. Nina remembers her life with Philip as he unexpectedly dies, and she finds him, and spends the night with him before letting anyone else know. The book is written not quite in stream of consciousness, but in one unending thought process. No chapter breaks in the entire book. The book is ...more
Mar 21, 2014 Nikoleta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Το μυθιστόρημα της Lily Tuck, Ζήσαμε την Ευτυχία , είναι η ιστορία μιας γυναίκας που θρηνεί τον ξαφνικό θάνατο του συζύγου της. Ήταν λίγο πριν από το δείπνο, όταν ο Φίλιπ ήρθε στο σπίτι από το κολέγιο που εργάζεται ως καθηγητής. Όταν η Νίνα τον καλεί στο τραπέζι είναι νεκρός. Εκείνη ξαπλώνει πλάι στο κρύο του σώμα όλη τη νύχτα και αναπωλεί τη κοινή τους ζωή.

Το βιβλίο αυτό λαμβάνει χώρα κατά τη διάρκεια μιας νύχτας.Της νύχτας του θάνατου του Φιλίπ . Η Νίνα είναι καλλιτέχνης ενώ ο Φίλιπ είναι μαθη
Feb 24, 2014 Judith rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I could push myself to three stars in admiration for the cerebral plotting and clean prose of this book - and the surprise at the end - but in fact, I never saw how Nora and Philip fit together in any way except the sexual. I was at first delighted, then confounded, and finally bored with the wealth of mathematical esoterica. Then I realized that it was breaking into the narrative, which was supposedly in Nora's voice (except for dream sequences) but kept including these passages that necessaril ...more
Apr 20, 2014 Emily rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Emily by: panost
Η ιστορία ενός γάμου ειπωμένη μονόπλευρα, από τη σκοπιά της γυναίκας, μια και ο σύζυγος είναι νεκρός και δεν μπορεί να υπερασπιστεί τον εαυτό του ή να αναλύσει τις μύχιες σκέψεις του όπως κάνει αυτή.
Ετοιμάζοντας το βραδινό φαγητό, η σύζυγος φωνάζει τον σύζυγο - μαθηματικό να κατέβει από τον επάνω όροφο να φάει αλλά φευ! εκείνος έχει ήδη μετακομίσει στους ουράνιους λειμώνες!
Κάθεται λοιπόν αυτή δίπλα του ολόκληρη τη νύχτα και αναπολεί τα χρόνια που έζησαν μαζί, την πρώτη φορά που συναντήθηκαν αλλά
Dec 14, 2011 Louise rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book
It was just ok. I wouldn't recommend spending money on it. I give it a 5 on my 10 scale.
Oct 09, 2015 Megan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book opens with the night Nina has lost her husband of many decades to an unexpected heart attack. The story of their marriage unfolds in short vignettes and flashbacks that are just a few paragraphs in length. It's a very "cerebral" book -- Nina is an artist and Phillip was a professor -- with lots of references to mathematics, French, quantum physics, art, etc. and the storytelling style is odd (there are no quotation marks around things the characters say), but I enjoyed this quick read.
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What's The Name o...: Fiction / Dead Husband [s] 8 66 Jun 17, 2013 05:48AM  
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Lily Tuck is an American novelist and short story writer whose novel The News from Paraguay won the 2004 National Book Award for Fiction. Her novel Siam was nominated for the 2000 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. She has published four other novels, a collection of short stories, and a biography of Italian novelist Elsa Morante (see "Works" below).
An American citizen born in Paris, Tuck now divides
More about Lily Tuck...

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