Cultures Clash in Ayobami Adebayo’s Debut, ‘Stay With Me’

Stay With MeStay With Me Ayobami Adebayo is a story about a Nigerian young couple, Yejide and Akin, who married for love as they faced the challenges of infertility. In their culture, having children is expected, and they are desperate to become parents. Yejide’s mother died when she gave birth so she hopes her feelings of belonging to no one will be rectified once she has a baby. Akin’s mother is relentless and goes behind her daughter-in-law’s back to present other women to her son so he can become a father. The couple had agreed polygamy was not for them but the mother persisted and they unwillingly accepted another wife.

Desperation to become pregnant leads Yejide, a modern, working woman, to superstition and ritual and she convinces herself she is with child. Saddled with the burden of male pride, Akin does his own scheming to make sure there is a baby in their future. When Yejide finally gives birth, there are feelings of betrayal and jealously amidst the joy. The political unrest in Nigeria is the backdrop as this powerful story travels back and forth from the late 1980s when the couple first meets to 2008. The emotional journey of this imperfect marriage packs a punch every step of the way.

Author Ayobami Adebayo sheds some light on cultural traditions and expectations that Nigerians aim to adhere to. In this compact, hard hitting 250 page novel, we experience the course this troubled marriage travels, the joys of births and the sorrow of deaths, hopes, superstitions, and brutal realities. With complex characters that make difficult decisions to guide their paths, Stay With Me is heartbreaking, revealing, and a must read debut.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ayobami Adebayo has had stories appear in a number of magazines and anthologies. She holds BA and MA degrees in Literature in English and has worked as an editor Saraba Magazine since 2009.

 

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