Stay With Me
By Ayobami Adebayo
This Nigerian debut, shortlisted for the 2017 Baileys Prize, is the heart-breaking tale of what wanting a child can do to a person, a marriage and a family; a powerful and vivid story of what it means to love not wisely but too wellTweet
An intensely sad story but written with a light and humorous touch that makes it a hugely enjoyable read. Set in Nigeria between 1985 and 2008 it reveals much about Nigeria's history and even more about the societal expectations. In fact it is the societal expectations that create the terrible situation in which the couple find themselves. I don't want to give any spoilers so I won't say any more about the plot but I found it to be a well written, wholly enganging novel.
Stay with Me deals with the marriage of Akin and Yejide, in Nigeria, who are struggling to have a child of their own and after unsuccessful attempts and huge societal pressure, bring in a new wife. This is how the novel opens.
While the characters aren’t always likeable, they are written remarkably well. Yejide seeps into you through the pages and the pain she suffers through not being able to be a true “woman” by bearing a children is absolutely heart-breaking. Akin, her husband, and the second wife are also complex characters and make this an intriguing three dimensional plot that keeps you immersed in their world.
Adebayo has written a really impressive cast of characters that feel very authentic and real. Their conversations, struggles, and identities are easy to imagine in real life.
A beautiful and inspiring debut – my second choice for the Baileys Prize winner.
THIS IS A GOOD READ. It gripped my interest on many levels and is so well written. It gives a fascinating insight into Nigerian society in the eighties, showing the pressures of tradition and culture. It explores the overwhelming passion and need to have a baby and then the pain of loosing a child. Love, isolation, rejection and deception and nievity all woven into the story that kept me guessing . I hope it makes it to the short list
This book really has stayed with me (I know I'm not the first to make that joke). At first I wasn't sure - one of my favourite books of all time Half A Yellow Sun which is also set in Nigeria and at first this one just didn't seem to have the depth or power of that novel.
This quickly changed as I was drawn further in to the story and each action was elaborated on or twisted with more information. This book was so clever in the way that it played with my emotions and expectations right up to the last page.
Other reviews have commented on how they didn't quite buy into the relationship between Akin and Yejide but it did work for me but I can see how their's came about.
A book I may not have chosen for myself but one I thoroughly enjoyed reading and couldn't wait to finish. I was intrigued by who 'Stay with Me' referred to as this seemed to change as the story progressed and kept me guessing.
It gave me a real insight into the structure and hierarchy of the family life and expectations however cruel they seemed at times with intelligence being thwarted by naivety.
I will certainly be recommending it to others.
This book is worthy of its selection onto the long list for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2017. I hope it makes the short list.
I loved the book from the word go. Akin and Yejide were totally real and believable characters. Both of them appeared to have had their prayers answered and dreams come true when they met at university. Yet the shadows of their childhoods, the unfair hands fate deals them, the traditions of their culture and pressures of society soon become apparent.
To have an insight into modern day Nigerian society was very interesting and being able to compare the contrast in cultural and social constraints was educational and made me more curious, especially when making a comparison between Nigerian traditions and those of western (UK) society.
The introduction of the subjects of living and coping with sickle cell disease and male impotence gave an even broader insight into two subjects I had previously not really thought much about.
Yejide in particular was constantly caught between being excluded, either through circumstance or choice, and the challenges of being caught between living life as a modern young woman in an educatioed world and abiding by tradition and age old customs.
This is an amazingly assured debut novel. Set in Nigeria with the backdrop of all the political and social upheavals,. it is non the less a story about a marriage. It is also about obsession the absolute desire to have a child and then the desperate need to keep that child alive if it comes.
Ayobami Adebayo takes you on a journey with an incredible sense of place and then draws in your emotions as you feel the pain of Yejide.
She is also a master storyteller. Just when you think you have a handle on what is happening then wow it all changes. OK you settle to the new reality and then she does it again and again. I cannot say too much as it would contain spoilers.
This will make a fantastic reading group book and is unmissable for anyone who likes fantastic writing, with twists and turns that will have you open mouthed.
A very well written novel with a good story line giving a good insight into cultural beliefs & the political background of the country. Only three stars given as, for me, the relationship between Akin & Yejide was unrealistic as throughout their married life they didn’t confront the main issue of his impotency.
Ayobami obviously has great talent in portraying her own culture & I look forward to seeing further publications by her.
I really enjoyed this book. It was interesting to get an insight into Nigerian traditions and the clash of these with the modern world. The power of Akin's family and the expectations on a daughter-in-law were very strong and intrusive. It was extraordinary that Akin was prepared to live a lie and allow Yejide to take the blame for their childlessness. It was clear that Akin really loved her and sad to see their relationship deteriorate because of his lie. I have learnt a little about sickle-cell anaemia too. I would recommend this book to friends.
I enjoyed the style of writing which was very engaging and was gripped by the book from the outset. Yejide was a very credible character and took us on quite a journey to another world and culture with the universal themes of love, loss and kinship all carefully crafted and interwoven with humour.
Stay with Me could be enjoyed on many different levels and it was interesting to note the setting of Nigeria in the 1980s with many political undercurrents which piqued my curiosity.
Within our book group there was much discussion about women's lives in Nigeria (and other cultures including our own) as the book provoked research into many issues faced by the characters.
I would definitely recommend to others.
I read this as part of our groups commitment to shadowing the #BaileysPrize. It was a delight. Well written and interesting to follow this story of exclusion. Exclusion initially by circumstances and later by choice. Loneliness and misunderstandings have a deep effect when coupled with a lack of honest communication. Hit many personal notes with my own life and intrigued me to see it so well illustrated within the circumstance of a very different culture. Prior to reading this I had v little understanding of the challenges faced by a Nigerian woman and this opened my eyes in an intimate way that has inspired me to want to learn more. Withing our group this promoted some really interesting discussions. Would recommend this as a thought provoking read.
A beautiful debut novel that shows the challenges of the disparity between traditional and progressive generations in 1980s Nigeria, while the country itself struggles on the cusp of democracy. I would most definitely recommend this book.