“If the burden is too much and stays too long, even love bends, cracks, comes close to breaking”
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 well
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2017 BAILEYS WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION
‘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, appeals to God. But when her relatives 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 1980s 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.
“Scorching, gripping, ultimately lovely”
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“This terrific first novel (shortlisted for the Baileys women’s prize for fiction) deals with the daily stresses of living with the political upheavals of the time but the real drama is happening in Yejide’s womb. Adebayo unfolds the many layers of truth with insight and skill”
“A thoroughly contemporary style that is all her own … clever and funny … despite the intense sadness of her subject matter, she has produced a bright, big-hearted demonstration of female spirit, as well as the damage done by the boundlessness of male pride”
“Has a remarkable emotional resonance and depth of field [ … Adebayo] 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”
new York Times
“One of the must-reads books of the year so far: Stay With Me has it all, including big themes of love, grief and jealousy, a fantastic female protagonist plus it reads like a page-turning thriller”
Ayobami Adebayo’s stories have appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies, and one was highly commended in the 2009 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. 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. She has been the recipient of fellowships and residencies from Ledig House, Hedgebrook, Sinthian Cultural Institute, Ebedi Hills, Ox-Bow School of Arts and Siena Art Institute. She was born in Lagos, Nigeria. In 2017, her debut novel Stay With Me was shortlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.
A rundown of the Baileys Prize shortlist from Simon Savidge of Savidge Reads. “My number one choice has to be Stay With Me. I absolutely adore this book from start to finish, I think it’s incredible.”
Jen Campbell reviews this year’s Baileys shortlist. “The book I enjoyed the most, and would love to see win is Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo.”