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Stay with Me: A novel Hardcover – August 22, 2017
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An Amazon Best Book of August 2017: “This book nearly destroyed me; you gotta read it." That’s what a colleague said to me about Ayobami Adebayo’s searing debut novel, Stay with Me (and not sadistically!). Taking place in Nigeria, it's the story of Yejide and Akin--a young married couple who are experiencing fertility issues. When the in-laws’ solution is a second wife, they conspire separately to save their relationship, with devastating consequences. I quickly gathered what my colleague meant--much of this novel is a series of unfortunate events. So much so, and sometimes to such cinematic extremes, that when Adebayo interjects humor into the narrative, it’s easily mistaken for something sinister (even when it involves breastfeeding a goat). But her gift is making these extremes make sense. After all, it’s some of our most intimate and profound struggles that can compel us to react in the craziest of ways—ways that just might destroy what was meant to be preserved. Adebayo is such a skilled storyteller that you will forgive Yejide and Akin some serious trespasses; you will weep for their once-happy union that buckles so spectacularly beneath the weight of cultural pressures--pressures that warp their sense of what constitutes a worthwhile life. The couple’s efforts to disentangle their true desires from the ones tradition and society have foisted upon them is what imbues Stay with Me with unexpected power, and heart. You definitely gotta read it. --Erin Kodicek, Amazon Book Review
Shortlisted for the 2017 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction
"[A] stunning debut novel…. At once, a gothic parable about pride and betrayal; a thoroughly contemporary—and deeply moving—portrait of a marriage; and a novel, in the lineage of great works by Chinua Achebe and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie…. Adebayo, who is 29, is an exceptional storyteller. She writes not just with extraordinary grace but with genuine wisdom about love and loss and the possibility of redemption. She has written a powerfully magnetic and heartbreaking book." —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"A bright, big-hearted demonstration of female spirit, as well as the damage done by the boundlessness of male pride." —The Guardian
“Ayobami Adebayo’s taut, intimate debut novel, Stay with Me... careens backward and forward in time against a backdrop of politics, protests, crime and civil unrest... Close to Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies…. Conveyed with an operatic intensity that almost approaches the pitch of Elena Ferrante’s The Days of Abandonment.” —Anita Felicelli, The San Francisco Chronicle
“Stunning…. A work of intimate yet powerful—and even, at times, shocking—storytelling that will grow your sensitivity chip and make your world bigger, too.” —ELLE
“An absolute must-read and a story that will be shared for many decades to come.” —Emma Roberts, Refinery29
“Beautiful… Phenomenal… A layered story of love, sacrifice and hope… Adebayo’s debut is undoubtedly one of the best reads of this year.” —Lihle Z. Mtshali, Essence.com
Top customer reviews
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Yejide and Akin have been trying to get pregnant for years. In their culture, there's immense pressure from their families to have children, and though they have deliberately avoided polygamy, the time finally comes for Akin to take on a second wife.
This initiates a series of tragic events for Yejide and Akin, particularly when Yejide finally gets pregnant.
There are many layers to this story, which is told from both Yejide's and Akin's perspectives. Their mutual desperation causes a permanent rift in their once blissful marriage, each of them making sacrifices that seem right at the time but have lasting consequences.
This is a compelling and powerful book, in spite of my never feeling as emotionally invested in it as I would have liked. In many ways it reads as a parable about secrets, betrayal and desperation.
Marriage, family, loss and redemption are some of the things that make up the lives of Akin and his wife, Yejide, as they face the disgrace of having no children after four years of marriage in their home country of Nigeria. The customs of Nigerian society and culture often dictated what decisions people made, but Akin and Yejide were not for polygamy, even though each had fathers with multiple wives.
The story is told by each of them, and it is a very emotional one. Loss is a major theme, and it is quite sad and heart wrenching. That is what hit me hardest as I read. The losses this couple faced were of several kinds, unexpected and life-changing.
The author did an excellent job of keeping me so involved with the story that I read all but the last few pages in one sitting. The characters seem very real and the dialogue natural. I came away feeling that I know this family, and that I know much more about Nigeria than I did before I started to read. An excellent book.
Most recent customer reviews
The struggle to continue after such pain and continuous tragedy and betrayal. Such strength.
I loved this book!
“Stay With Me” is a fine example of a story which takes one cultural premise and explores its consequences for a particular group of people.Read more