Cover image for Stay with me
Title:
Stay with me
Summary:
Yejide and Akin fell in love and married while at university. Though many expected Akin to take several wives, he and Yejide 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. When her family arrives with a young woman they introduce as Akin's second wife, Yejide knows the only way to save her marriage is to get pregnant. She does--but at a cost far greater than she could have dared to imagine.
Edition:
First American edition.
Physical Description:
257 pages ; 22 cm
Geographic Term:
Publisher:
Alfred A. Knopf,
Publication Date:
2017
ISBN:
9780451494603

9781101974414
Publication Information:
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2017.

©2017
Call Number:
ADEBAYO
Holds:
Copies:

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Summary

Summary

A New York Times Notable Book
The New York Times' Critics' Top Books of the Year
Named a Best Book of the Year by San Francisco Chronicle , National Public Radio, The Economist, Buzzfeed, Paste Magazine, Southern Living , HelloGiggles, and Shelf Awareness
Huffington Post's Best Feminist Books of the Year
The New York Post's Most Thrilling and Fascinating Books of the Year
The New York Public Library's Ten Best Books of the Year

"A stunning debut novel." --Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

This celebrated, unforgettable first novel ("A bright, big-hearted demonstration of female spirit." - The Guardian ), shortlisted for the prestigious Women's Prize for Fiction 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.


Author Notes

Ayobami Adebayo is a Nigerian author, born in Lagos, in 1988. She earned her BA and MA degrees at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, in Literature in English and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. She has received numerous fellowships and residencies. Since 2009, she has been an editor for Saraba magazine.

She has written numerous short stories that were published in Saraba magazine, Lawino magazine, The Ilanot Review, Weaverbird Collection and others. Her debut novel is entitled Stay with Me.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Adebayo explores the toll the intense pressure to have children exacts on one Nigerian couple across two decades. Akin's large family disrupts his and Yejide's happy but childless marriage by forcing him into a polygamous marriage without his wife's knowledge. This betrayal and a last-ditch visit to a holy man convince Yejide that she is pregnant and she begins a year-long psychosomatic pregnancy. Just when she finally accepts that there will be no child, Akin's brother Dotun seduces and impregnates her. The child is eagerly welcomed as Akin's own, especially by his imposing mother. The happiness ends abruptly with the seemingly accidental death of Akin's second wife. As subsequent traumas multiply between the couple, Adebayo slowly reveals their unspoken shame by having both narrate chapters covering the same events. Yejide's strong ache to be a mother and her frustration with traditional Yoruba culture make her a complex character. 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. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Against a tumultuous backdrop of political, military, and economic turmoil in modern Nigeria comes a portrait of a marriage that begins with idealistic devotion and ardent promise. For Yejide and Akin, love should have been enough, but after four years without children, "even love bends, cracks, comes close to breaking and sometimes does break." Unable to fend off his mother's demands for a grandchild, Akin warily agrees to take a second wife. When modern medicine can't help her conceive, desperate -Yejide climbs the "Mountain of Jaw-Dropping Miracles" and comes back down convinced (falsely) she's pregnant. The need to procreate both unites and destroys the couple, each plagued with secrets and betrayals that eventually lead to parenthood but not without devastating regrets and searing tragedy. Adjoa Andoh's rich narration, softly infused with her native British accent, effortlessly adapts to a more pronounced -Nigerian inflection as needed. Andoh becomes both husband and wife, modulating her mellifluous voice between Akin's hope and defeat and Yejide's hurt and resolve. With elegant control, Andoh elevates Adebayo's already extraordinary debut into a spectacular aural performance. -VERDICT Libraries owe patrons ready access to this sort of meaningful, transformative fare. ["A blazing entry onto the list of young, talented writers from Nigeria": LJ 6/15/17 starred review of the Knopf hc.]-Terry Hong, -Smithsonian -BookDragon, -Washington, DC © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

PART ONE 1 JOS, DECEMBER 2008 I must leave this city today and come to you. My bags are packed and the empty rooms remind me that I should have left a week ago. Musa, my driver, has slept at the security guard's post every night since last Friday, waiting for me to wake him up at dawn so we can set out on time. But my bags still sit in the living room, gathering dust. I have given most of what I acquired here--­furniture, electronic devices, even house fittings--­to the stylists who worked in my salon. So, every night for a week now, I've tossed about on this bed without a television to shorten my insomniac hours. There's a house waiting for me in Ife, right outside the university where you and I first met. I imagine it now, a house not unlike this one, its many rooms designed to nurture a big family: man, wife and many children. I was supposed to leave a day after my hair dryers were taken down. The plan was to spend a week setting up my new salon and furnishing the house. I wanted my new life in place before seeing you again. It's not that I've become attached to this place. I will not miss the few friends I made, the people who do not know the woman I was before I came here, the men who over the years have thought they were in love with me. Once I leave, I probably won't even remember the one who asked me to be his wife. Nobody here knows I'm still married to you. I only tell them a slice of the story: I was barren and my husband took another wife. No one has ever probed further, so I've never told them about my children. I have wanted to leave since the three corpers in the National Youth Service programme were killed. I decided to shut down my salon and the jewellery shop before I even knew what I would do next, before the invitation to your father's funeral arrived like a map to show me the way. I have memorised the three young men's names and I know what each one studied at the university. My Olamide would have been about their age; she too would just have been leaving university about now. When I read about them, I think of her. Akin, I often wonder if you think about her too. Although sleep stays away, every night I shut my eyes and pieces of the life I left behind come back to me. I see the batik pillowcases in our bedroom, our neighbours and your family which, for a misguided period, I thought was also mine. I see you. Tonight I see the bedside lamp you gave me a few weeks after we got married. I could not sleep in the dark and you had nightmares if we left the fluorescent lights on. That lamp was your solution. You bought it without telling me you'd come up with a compromise, without asking me if I wanted a lamp. And as I stroked its bronze base and admired the tinted glass panels that formed its shade, you asked me what I would take out of the building if our house was burning. I didn't think about it before saying, Our baby, even though we did not have children yet. Something, you said, not someone. But you seemed a little hurt that, when I thought it was someone, I did not consider rescuing you. I drag myself out of bed and change out of my nightgown. I will not waste another minute. The questions you must answer, the ones I've choked on for over a decade, quicken my steps as I grab my handbag and go into the living room. There are seventeen bags here, ready to be carried into my car. I stare at the bags, recalling the contents of each one. If this house was on fire, what would I take? I have to think about this because the first thing that occurs to me is nothing. I choose the overnight bag I'd planned to bring with me for the funeral and a leather pouch filled with gold jewellery. Musa can bring the rest of the bags to me another time. This is it then--­fifteen years here and, though my house is not on fire, all I'm taking is a bag of gold and a change of clothes. The things that matter are inside me, locked up below my breast as though in a grave, a place of permanence, my coffin-like treasure chest. I step outside. The air is freezing and the black sky is turning purple in the horizon as the sun ascends. Musa is leaning against the car, cleaning his teeth with a stick. He spits into a cup as I approach and puts the chewing stick in his breast pocket. He opens the car door, we exchange greetings and I climb into the back seat. Musa switches on the car radio and searches for stations. He settles for one that is starting the day's broadcast with a recording of the national anthem. The security guard waves goodbye as we drive out of the compound. The road stretches before us, shrouded in a darkness transitioning into dawn as it leads me back to you. Excerpted from Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.