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Stay With Me

In my opinion...

It does not matter whether the story is set in Nigeria or Northampton, the issues that Ayobami tackles so sensitively in her debut novel are the same. Titles are so important, and this one, in particular, works on so many levels.

Tragedy, heartbreak, the pain of loss both in relationships and through death, all are described with anguished accuracy. I found the final few chapters extremely moving.

When I started this book I knew little about Nigeria, and certainly not the role of women in the society. I found it shocking that this story is set partly in the 80s, and couldn’t help but compare the differences between my life and Yejide’s, and yet she was considered to be in a modern and successful relationship with Akin- with the exception of her failure to have a child.

The story is told by both Yejide and Akin, but I did find that it was not always clear from the first few sentences in a chapter which one was speaking, until I recognised the ‘voice’.

This technique works well overall, however, particularly in Akin’s case, where some of his decisions may be hard to understand when described by Yejide, it allows him an opportunity to explain that maybe he was foolish and did what he did through love .

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and look forward to reading more of Ayobami’s work- meanwhile in my head I am still singing "Stay with Me" ( Shakepears Sister, 1992)

Thank you & Canongate, for giving me the opportunity to read this perceptive novel.

Want to know more?

'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.

My rating ...

A thought provoking four glasses, pounded yam to accompany them, anyone?

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