Stay with Me: Book summary and reviews of Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo

Stay with Me

by Ayobami Adebayo

Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2017
    272 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

This celebrated, unforgettable first novel, shortlisted for the prestigious Bailey's Prize and set in Nigeria, gives voice to both husband and wife as they tell the story of their marriage - and the forces that threaten to tear it apart.

Yejide and Akin have been married since they met and fell in love at university. Though many expected Akin to take several wives, he and Yejide have always agreed: polygamy is not for them. But four years into their marriage - after consulting fertility doctors and healers, trying strange teas and unlikely cures - Yejide is still not pregnant. She assumes she still has time - until her family arrives on her doorstep with a young woman they introduce as Akin's second wife. Furious, shocked, and livid with jealousy, Yejide knows the only way to save her marriage is to get pregnant. Which, finally, she does - but at a cost far greater than she could have dared to imagine. An electrifying novel of enormous emotional power, Stay With Me asks how much we can sacrifice for the sake of family.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

Shortlisted for the 2017 Baileys prize for Women's Fiction

"Starred Review. Telling the story from both Akin's and Yejide's perspectives, Adebayo describes parenthood and love with heartbreaking prose. She deftly reveals secrets and the decisions that set life-altering events in motion. The story's fast pace brings surprising twists to Akin, Yejide, and their families' lives while delving into their history, as a couple and as individuals." - Booklist

"Starred Review. Adebayo shows great promise in her debut novel. Her methodical exposure of her characters' secrets forces the reader into continual reevaluations and culminates in a tender, satisfying conclusion." - Publishers Weekly

"Recently short-listed for the 2017 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction, Adebayo's work makes a blazing entry onto the list of young, talented writers from Nigeria. Readers who pick up this debut novel will not put it down until they've finished." - Library Journal

"Adebayo's debut marks the emergence of a fine young writer." - Kirkus

"Ayobami has a thoroughly contemporary style that is all her own. Her clever and funny take on domestic life and Nigerian society is a welcome addition to her country's burgeoning literary scene. ... A bright, big-hearted demonstration of female spirit, as well as the damage done by the boundlessness of male pride." – The Guardian (UK)

"This deeply impressive novel of infertility, loneliness and longing is the first by the hotly-tipped Adebayo and it packs a tremendous punch." – Daily Mail (UK)

"Affecting and powerful. ... Adebayo's prose is a pleasure: immediate, unpretentious and flecked with whip-smart Nigerian-English dialogue. She handles weighty themes with an absence of sentimentality." – Sunday Times (UK)

"This terrific first novel (shortlisted for the Baileys women's prize for fiction) deals with the daily stresses of living with the political upheavals of the time but the real drama is happening in Yejide's womb. Adebayo unfolds the many layers of truth with insight and skill." – The Times (UK)

"This impressive debut creates, in deceptively simple prose, a portrait of a marriage in crisis in a deeply patriarchal and oppressive society." – Mail on Sunday (UK)

"This confident and fearless writer challenges us to think about marriage from all perspectives in her first novel ... Stay With Me is the closely observed, heartbreaking and original tale of the desperate attempts we make to save ourselves from severing the very bonds that make us." – Elle (UK)

"Ayobami Adebayo's enthralling debut strikes deep, dark and true. ... It touches the emotions through its realistic portrayal of hope, sorrow and all too human weakness." – Irish Times

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Reader Reviews

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Neil H. Wasserman (Orlando, FL)

A Fantatic Book - Not To Be Missed!
Truly an outstanding book, Stay with Me, is one of the best books I have ever read! Because it is written in a unique style, it is extremely challenging to read rapidly. However, it is an extremely accurate exposition of any and all relationships between two people! To me, a child clinical psychologist for fifty years it was very insightful about relationships between two or more people – spouses, parents/children, lovers and/or close siblings. Take your time and read slowly and thoroughly! It is a "must read" for adults of all ages!

Janet H. (Utica, NY)

Stay with Me
Set in Nigeria, this book describes a culture very different than my own. However those differences were forgotten quickly as the story describes emotions--hope, joy, grief, anger, loss, love-- that are universally understood. The author switches perspectives between two of the parties in a marriage and in so doing, enabled me to sympathize with both husband and wife. This was a book I read in two sittings and as painful as some of the scenes were the ending was satisfying.

Maggie R. (Canoga Park, CA)

Heartbreaking
Stay With Me engaged and maintained my investment in a flawed couple and their maddening families. The unsustainable fit of a modern couple with their traditional culture leads to layers of deception and misery with a sustained background tension that never lets up. Recommended for those who appreciated The Vegetarian and Half of a Yellow Sun.

Cheryl P. (Lebanon, PA)

Gripping
From the first sentence, "I must leave this city today and come to you", I was reeled in. Poignant love story - the characters are real and their pain and loss is felt with every turn of the page. Fascinating how the characters evolved throughout the story. This love story of this young Nigerian couple has no boundaries. Nigerian customs, cultural norms, and language bring this book to life. Yejide and Akin just want to be a young, happily married couple but then then fate turns them a cold shoulder and shadows them with deceit, death, heartache, and infidelity. Their story takes a turn towards hope and new life in the end. Just excellent.

Kimberly H. (Stamford, CT)

Debut novel- highly recommend.
A Nigerian marriage and life in the '90's amid turmoil. Wonderfully written-- best book I have read in a few months. Just short listed for 2017 Bailey's Women's Prize for fiction- quite a feat for her!

Karen L. (Wilton, IA)

Couldn't put it down
I enjoyed this book. It was a quick read. I couldn't put it down. I had to know what would happen next. The characters were very well developed. I cared what happened to them. It was a mystery too. I didn't figure out the reason for their infertility until the character found out. Everything was very realistic. I think this would be a great book for book clubs to discuss. While I was reading the book I could imagine discussing this with my book club.

...19 more reader reviews

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More Information

Ayobami Adebayo's stories have appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies, and one was highly commended in the 2009 Commonwealth short story competition. She holds BA and MA degrees in literature in English from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, and has worked as an editor for Saraba Magazine since 2009. She also has an MA in creative writing from the University of East Anglia, where she was awarded an international bursary for creative writing. She has received fellowships and residencies from Ledig House, Sinthian Cultural Centre, Hedgebrook, Ox-Bow School of Art, Ebedi Hills and the Siena Art Institute. She was born in Lagos, Nigeria.

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