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Stay With Me

by Ayobami Adebayo

Books with reviews by our Reader Review Panel Debut Books of the Month eBooks of the Month Family Drama Modern and Classic Literary Fiction Relationship Stories

LoveReading View on Stay With Me

Shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2017.

A surprising, emotional, and courageous novel, one where the words and feelings gradually unwind from the page and take up residence in your mind. Set in Nigeria during the 1980s, this is a story that at first feels like a window into another world, yet one that is somehow recognisable, as feelings are translatable, wherever they may be felt. Yejide desperately wants a child, her entire world collapses when her in-laws insist on her husband Akin marrying a new wife, in order to bear him children. We see the couple, feel their thoughts, the hurt and sorrow on both sides. I couldn't stop reading, yet the rawness, the pain was in every turn of the page. Unexpected revelations smacked into my awareness, turned my thoughts, captivated me further. Ayobami Adebayo, in her debut novel, writes with a clear and simple intensity. ’Stay With Me’ is utterly compelling, provocative, and a truly beautiful read. ~ Liz Robinson

March 2017 Debut of the Month.

Click here to read Ayobami Adebayo discuss her debut novel Stay with Me.

Liz Robinson

Stay With Me Synopsis

'There are things even love can't do ...If the burden is too much and stays too long, even love bends, cracks, comes close to breaking and sometimes does break. But even when it's in a thousand pieces around your feet, that doesn't mean it's no longer love ...' Yejide is hoping for a miracle, for a child. It is all her husband wants, all her mother-in-law wants, and she has tried everything - arduous pilgrimages, medical consultations, dances with prophets, appeals to God. But when her in-laws insist upon a new wife, it is too much for Yejide to bear. It will lead to jealousy, betrayal and despair. Unravelling against the social and political turbulence of 80s Nigeria, Stay With Me sings with the voices, colours, joys and fears of its surroundings. Ayobami Adebayo weaves a devastating story of the fragility of married love, the undoing of family, the wretchedness of grief, and the all-consuming bonds of motherhood. It is a tale about our desperate attempts to save ourselves and those we love from heartbreak.

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Stay With Me Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Katie Hoare - 'Stay With Me is a beautifully written debut set in 1980s Nigeria.'
  • Jennifer Moville - 'The author has carefully pieced together a characters life and built the story around it, pulling you in from her home life to her work and social life. This book has a story to tell.'
  • Marjorie Lacy - 'I finished this book last night. Wow!! I feel I have been whisked back to Nigeria in the 1980's - the book is so real, I felt that I was the 'fly on the wall'.'
  • Catherine Bryce - 'A truly magnificent story from Ayobami Adebayo sharing with the reader a really descriptive account...of marriage and motherhood, of loss and grief whilst trying to keep family happy at the couple’s emotional expense.'
  • Chloe Hill - 'This book made me feel so desperate for each of the characters. I loved Yejide and had strong opinions about Akin.'
  • Phylippa Smithson - 'Oh my, this was a totally addictive read based on relationships, family betrayals, secrets, misunderstandings and an observation of cultural differences.'
  • Peter Mynehan - 'A good and easy to follow book balancing the personal struggles of one woman with the struggles of a nation.'
  • Tina Tse - 'Extremely entertaining and thought-provoking debut. I eagerly await Ayobami Adebayo's next work!'
  • Victoria Halliday - 'An unputdownable novel about the lengths a husband will to go to in order to give his wife what she wants - and the unexpected results of doing so.'
  • Dana Captainino - 'This is not a happy read on the whole but it is an enlightening one as the reader sinks deeper into a culture and environment that for many readers in the UK is virtually unknown.'
  • Cathy Small - 'Very touching but heart felt story.'
  • Lisa Wise - 'Stay With Me is beautifully written and gives an insight to the Nigerian culture...A fantastic debut novel.'
  • Julie Watkin - 'This story is a joy to read and be part of. Full of heartache, enduring love and desperation that will bring you to tears.'
  • Karen Swanscott - 'Powerful subjects woven into a rich cultural background.  A story of marriage and loss told from the dual perspectives of husband and wife as their marriage and world collapses.'
  • Carrie Jones - 'Tragedy, heartbreak, the pain of loss- it doesn't matter if the story is set in Nigeria or Northampton, the issues that Ayobami tackles so sensitively resonate regardless of location.'
  • Taflyn Pearson - 'The author expresses her characters' emotions very succinctly and certainly conveys the atmosphere of 80's Nigeria. However, neither the emotions nor the state of the country are particularly pretty!'  

Stay With Me Press Reviews

'Ayobami Adebayo is an extremely talented and sensitive writer ... Fantastic' -- Uzodinma Iweala, author of Beasts of No Nation

'Colourful, vibrant, energetic - a stunning tale of what happens when societal expectations collide with reality' -- Tendai Huchu, author of The Hairdresser of Harare

'A compulsive read ... Just brilliant. Adebayo is an astounding storyteller - an exciting addition to the emerging voices in African writing' -- Jennifer Makumbi, author of Kintu and winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Competition

'Just when I thought I knew where the story was going, suddenly I was left wondering all over again. I read it late into the night - Ayobami Adebayo definitely owes me several hours of sleep!' -- Chibundu Onuzo, author of The Spider King's Daughter

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781782119463
Publication date: 02/03/2017
Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781782119463
Publication date: 2nd March 2017
Author: Ayobami Adebayo
Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 304 pages
Genres: Reader Reviewed Books, Debuts of the Month, eBook Favourites, Family Drama, Literary Fiction, Reading Groups, Relationship Stories,
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),

About Ayobami Adebayo

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. She also has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia where she was awarded an international bursary for creative writing. Ayobami has been the recipient of fellowships and residencies from Ledig House, Hedgebrook, Threads, Ebedi Hills and Ox-Bow. She was born in Lagos, Nigeria. Click here to read Ayobami Adebayo discuss her debut novel Stay with Me.

More About Ayobami Adebayo

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