“I convinced myself that my silence meant I was a good wife. But the biggest lies are often the ones we tell ourselves.”
An absolutely phenomenal read and I’m going to take a leap and say one of my top five reads of this year. (I’ll eat my hat if I read five other books that surpass this baby in the rest of 2017). Stay With Me first came to my attention with it’s Bailey’s Prize long-listing and I’m so so glad it did.
The novel follows the story of a Nigerian couple and their attempts at creating a family. It is set in 1980s Nigeria and imbued with the political tensions of the time. But it is so much more than this.
Filled with themes of motherhood, love and grief, Adébáyọ̀ skillfully weaves a tale of reality versus societal expectations that will leave you grasping for air. Her writing style is startling fresh; both eloquent and gripping and just when you think you’ve worked out where the novel is heading, she’s got you guessing all over again.
“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.”
Stay With Me is a colourful compulsive reading experience and Yejide (our main character) is one who will (sorry not sorry) stay with me for a long time. Adébáyọ̀’s women are strong, fearless, fearful, brave, scheming, loving, longing, human. Everything a woman is and could ever be. I’m still in awe that this is a debut. The final fifty pages left me a blubbering mess.
If you like…
- plot driven family narratives
- strong female characters
- the other side of motherhood
- masterful writing filled with both suspense and beauty
- the works of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- contemporary African literature
… you ought to relish this one!
5/5 stars. I want to read everything Adébáyọ̀ ever writes.
“Sometimes I think we have children because we want to leave behind someone who can explain who we were to the world when we are gone.”
Isn’t it exciting finding awe inspiring debuts, knowing that there is so much more to come. Did you love this one? It’s the only one of the Bailey’s prize I managed to get to this year so I may be biased in thinking it should have won :’) what was your favourite? Perhaps next year I’ll give the Bailey’s a go as the listed books are often my preferred kind of reading… or so I like to think… :’)
Stay tuned for my next reviews of the Man Booker longlist….
Do svidaniya xx