Discoveries: Lily Tuck

By Susan Salter ReynoldsNovember 19, 2011

Discoveries: Lily Tuck

I Married You For Happiness by Lily Tuck

YOU SUSPECT IT'S TRUE: what we remember at life's end are the vacations, the concerts, the dinners with friends. In one of the most beautiful love songs in novel form you'll ever read, Nina sits with her husband's body until morning, when she will call the paramedics to take him away. Philip, her husband, has suffered a sudden cardiac arrest while Nina prepares their dinner. He dies immediately - Nina holds his hand as it grows increasingly cold and remembers their most wonderful moments together. The house they rented year after year on Belle-Ile in France, the house on Pantelleria, the house on Martha's Vineyard, the dude ranch in Arizona. She remembers the birth of their daughter, Louise, the joys and hardships raising Louise, the moments when it looked as though the marriage might falter. Tuck is a genius with moments and with beauty - for this she was awarded the National Book Award for her novel, The News from Paraguay in 2004 and the PEN/Faulkner award for Siam in 2000. (Her ability to capture beauty will remind readers of Margaret Yourcenar and Marguerite Duras.) Nina remembers all the theorems that Philip, a mathematician, tried to solve. She remembers how he loved to work in the garden: "red leaf, romaine, bib...." It is a long and beautiful night, a sad farewell.


LARB Contributor

Susan Salter Reynolds is a book critic and writer who lives in Los Angeles and Vermont. She has three children: Sam, Ellie, and Mia.


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