Excerpt from I Married You for Happiness by Lily Tuck, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

I Married You for Happiness

by Lily Tuck

I Married You for Happiness
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Sep 2011, 208 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2012, 224 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


For their honeymoon, they go to Mexico, to look at butterflies. Butterflies? Why? Nina tries to object.

Monarch butterflies. Millions of them. It's still early in the migratory season, but I've always wanted to see them. And afterward we can go to the beach and relax, Philip promises.

The car, an old Renault, is rented, and the roads are narrow and wind steeply around the Sierra Chincua hills as they drive from Mexico City to Angangueo. There are few cars on the road; the buses and trucks honk their horns incessantly and do not signal to pass. There are no signs for the town.

Donde? Donde Angangueo? Philip repeatedly shouts out of the car window. Standing by the side of the road, the children stare at him in mute disbelief. They hold up iguanas for sale. The iguanas are tied up with string and are said to be good to eat.

Supposedly they taste like chicken, Philip says.

How do you know? Nina asks.

Instead of replying, Philip reaches for her leg.

Keep your hands on the wheel, Nina says, pushing his hand away.

In Angangueo, they stay in a small hotel off the Plaza de la Constitución; there are no other tourists and everyone stares at them. Before they have dinner, they go and visit the church. On an impulse, Nina lights a candle.

For whom? Philip asks.

Nina shrugs. I don't know. For us.

Good idea, Philip says and squeezes her shoulder. The next morning, when they get out of bed, their bodies are covered with red bites. Fleas.

Following the hired guide, they hike for over an hour along a winding, narrow mountain path, always going up. They walk single file, Philip ahead of her. Tall and thin, Philip walks with a slight limp - he fell out of a tree and broke his leg as a child and the tibia did not set properly - which gives him a certain vulnerability and adds to his appeal. Occasionally, Nina has accused him of exaggerating the limp to elicit sympathy. But most of the time, his limp is hardly noticeable except when he is tired or when they argue.

The day is a bit overcast and cool - also they are high up. Eight or nine thousand feet, Philip estimates. Hemmed in by the tall fir trees, there is no view. It is humid and hard to breathe.

How much farther? She wants to ask but does not when all of a sudden the guide stops and points. At first, Nina cannot see what he is pointing at. A carpet of orange on the forest floor. Leaves. No. Butterflies. Thousands and thousands of them. When she looks up, she sees more butterflies hanging in large clusters like hives from tree branches. A few butterflies fly listlessly from one tree to another but mostly the butterflies are still.

They look dead, she says.

They're hibernating, Philip answers.

On the way back to town, Philip tries to explain. There are two theories about how those monarch butterflies always return to the same place each year - amazing when you think that most of them have never been here before. One theory says that there is a small amount of magnetite in their bodies, which acts as a sort of compass and leads them back to these hills full of magnetic iron, and the second theory says that the butterflies use an internal compass -

Nina has stopped listening. Look. She points to some brilliant red plants growing under the fir trees.

Limóncillos, the guide says and makes as if to drink from something in his hand.

, Nina answers. By then she is thirsty.

From Angangueo, they drive to Puerto Vallarta, where they are going to spend the last few days of their honeymoon. In the car, Nina shuts her eyes and tries to sleep when all of a sudden Philip brakes and she is thrown against the dashboard. They have hit something.

Oh, my God. A child! Nina cries.

A pig has run across the road before Philip can stop. His back broken, the pig lies in the middle of the road, squealing. Each time he squeals, dark blood fills his mouth. Within minutes and seemingly from out of nowhere, men, women, and children have gathered by the side of the road and are watching. Philip and Nina get out of the car and stand together. It is very hot and bright. Putting her hand to her head to shade her eyes, she says, Philip, do something. The pig sounds just like a baby.

Excerpted from I Married You for Happiness by Lily Tuck. Copyright © 2011 by Lily Tuck. Excerpted by permission of Atlantic Monthly Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Schrödinger's Cat

Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Barkskins
    Barkskins
    by Annie Proulx
    Barkskins, by Annie Proulx, is not a book to read quickly. After a month of slow reading, I ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Marriage of Opposites
    by Alice Hoffman
    Alice Hoffman's latest work, The Marriage of Opposites, is a historical fiction novel focusing on ...
  • Book Jacket: Miss Jane
    Miss Jane
    by Brad Watson
    National Book Award Finalist Brad Watson returns with an intimate novel about one woman's journey to...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Since She Went Away
    by David Bell

    A chilling novel of guilt, regret, and a past which refuses to die...

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Imperial Wife
    by Irina Reyn

    A smart, engaging novel that parallels two fascinating worlds and two singular women.

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Sweet Caress
by William Boyd

William Boyd's Sweet Caress captures an entire lifetime unforgettably within its pages. It captivates.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

W M T N, W C F All

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

BookBrowse Summer Giveaway

We're giving away
5 books every
week in July!