Stay with Me

Ayobami Adebayo. Knopf, $25.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-451-49460-3
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.)
Reviewed on: 06/12/2017
Release date: 08/22/2017
Genre: Fiction
Library Binding - 500 pages - 978-1-68324-570-4
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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