Ever since they first met and fell in love at university, Yejide and Akin have agreed: polygamy is not for them. But four years into their marriage—after consulting fertility doctors and healers, and trying strange teas and unlikely cures—Yejide is still not pregnant. She assumes she still has time—until her in-laws arrive 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. Shortlisted for the 2017 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.
...stunning ... a beautifully produced book with a Matisse-inspired jacket that felicitously captures the spirit of the author’s writing — has a remarkable emotional resonance and depth of field. It is, 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, that explores the pull in Nigeria between tradition and modernity, old definitions of masculinity and femininity, and newer imperatives of self-definition and identity. ... while readers may pick up on this novel’s many allusions and borrowings...Stay With Me feels entirely fresh, thanks to its author’s ability to map tangled familial relationships with nuance and precision, and her intimate understanding of her characters’ yearnings, fears and self-delusions ... 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.
The most subtly brilliant aspect of Stay With Me is how this stunning literary work serves as both astute political commentary and unfolding mystery. Adebayo draws a clear parallel between the couple and the country: like Nigeria's middle class, quiescent in the face of political upheaval, Akin and Yejide keep accepting the unthinkable to keep their family intact ... This denial is corrosive. Because the reader is also faithful — to Akin and Yejide's stories — we see where we too chose to be blind.
Ayobami Adebayo’s taut, intimate debut novel, Stay With Me, skillfully dramatizes a worst-case scenario ... Rarely do novelists convey the mixed emotions of early motherhood — the tedium, confusion, terror, guilt, ecstasy and delight — as accurately as this book does. Yejide’s perspective...is conveyed with an operatic intensity that almost approaches the pitch of Elena Ferrante’s The Days of Abandonment. Adebayo’s prose is so direct you mainline the drama, rooting for Yejide and Akin to make it in spite of many narrative twists and turns that require a reconsideration of their relationship. The twists and turns make for powerful storytelling, but not all of the twists work ... Still, after many heartbreaking revelations, the novel resolves with an unexpected degree of warmth ... The story is ancient, but Adebayo imbues it with a vibrant, contemporary spirit.