Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo
Download Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo PDF book free online – This celebrated, unforgettable first novel (“A bright, big-hearted demonstration of female spirit.” – The Guardian), shortlisted for the prestigious Women’s Prize for Fiction and set in Nigeria, gives voice to both husband and wife as they tell the story of their marriage – and the forces that threaten to tear it apart.
Yejide and Akin have been married since they met and fell in love at university. Though many expected Akin to take several wives, he and Yejide have always agreed: polygamy is not for them. But four years into their marriage – after consulting fertility doctors and healers, trying strange teas and unlikely cures – Yejide is still not pregnant. She assumes she still has time – until her family arrives on her doorstep with a young woman they introduce as Akin’s second wife. Furious, shocked, and livid with jealousy, Yejide knows the only way to save her marriage is to get pregnant. Which, finally, she does – but at a cost far greater than she could have dared to imagine. An electrifying novel of enormous emotional power, Stay With Me asks how much we can sacrifice for the sake of family.
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Review of Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo
Shortlisted for the 2017 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction
“[A] stunning debut novel…. At once, a gothic parable about pride and betrayal; a thoroughly contemporary — and deeply moving — portrait of a marriage; and a novel, in the lineage of great works by Chinua Achebe and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie…. Adebayo, who is 29, 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. ” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“A bright, big-hearted demonstration of female spirit, as well as the damage done by the boundlessness of male pride.” – The Guardian
“Ayobami Adebayo’s taut,, Stay with Me … careens backward and forward in time against a backdrop of politics, protests, crime and civil unrest … Close to Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies …. Conveyed with an operational intensity that almost approaches the pitch of Elena Ferrante’s The Days of Abandonment . ” – Anita Felicelli , The San Francisco Chronicle
“Stunning…. A work of intimate yet powerful — and even, at times, shocking — storytelling that will grow your sensitivity chip and make your world bigger, too. ” – ELLE “An absolute must-read and a story that will be shared for many decades to come.” —Emma Roberts, Refinery29
“Beautiful… Phenomenal… A layered story of love, sacrifice and hope… Adebayo’s debut is undoubtedly one of the best reads of this year.” —Lihle Z. Mtshali, Essence.com
About the Author
AYOBAMI ADEBAYO ‘s stories have appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies, and one was highly commended in the 2009 Commonwealth short story competition. She holds BA and MA degrees in literature in English from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, and has worked as an editor for Saraba Magazine since 2009. 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 received fellowships and residencies from Ledig House, Sinthian Cultural Center, Hedgebrook, Ox-Bow School of Art, Ebedi Hills and the Siena Art Institute. She was born in Lagos, Nigeria.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
JOS, DECEMBER 2008
I must leave this city today and come to you. My bags are packed and the empty rooms remind me that I should have left a week ago. Musa, my driver, has slept at the security guard’s post every night since last Friday, waiting for me to wake him up at dawn so we can set out on time. But my bags still sit in the living room, gathering dust.
I have given most of what I acquired here — furniture, electronic devices, even house fittings — to the stylists who worked in my salon. So, every night for a week now, I’ve tossed about on this bed without a television to shorten my insomniac hours.
There’s a house waiting for me in Ife, right outside the university where you and I first met. I imagine it now, a house not unlike this one, its many rooms designed to nurture a big family: man, wife and many children. I was supposed to leave a day after my hair dryers were taken down. The plan was to spend a week setting up my new salon and furnishing the house. I wanted my new life in place before seeing you again.
It’s not that I’ve become attached to this place. I will not miss the few friends I made, the people who do not know the woman I was before I came here, the men who over the years have thought they were in love with me. Once I leave, I probably won’t even remember the one who asked me to be his wife. Nobody here knows I’m still married to you. I only tell them a slice of the story: I was barren and my husband took another wife. No one has ever probed further, so I’ve never told them about my children.
I have wanted to leave since the three corpers in the National Youth Service program were killed. I decided to shut down my salon and the jewelery shop before I even knew what I would do next, before the invitation to your father’s funeral arrived like a map to show me the way. I have memorized the three young men’s names and I know what each one studied at the university. My Olamide would have been about their age; she too would just have been leaving university about now. When I read about them, I think of her.
Akin, I often wonder if you think about her too.
Although sleep stays away, every night I shut my eyes and pieces of the life I left behind come back to me. I see the batik pillowcases in our bedroom, our neighbors and your family which, for a misguided period, I thought was also mine. I see you. Tonight I see the bedside lamp you gave me a few weeks after we got married. I could not sleep in the dark and you had nightmares if we left the fluorescent lights on. That lamp was your solution. You bought it without telling me you’d come up with a compromise, without asking me if I wanted a lamp. And as I stroked its bronze base and admired the tinted glass panels that formed its shade, you asked me what I would take out of the building if our house was burning. I didn’t think about it before saying, Our baby, even though we did not have children yet. Something, you said, not someone.
I drag myself out of bed and change out of my nightgown. I will not waste another minute. The questions you must answer, the ones I’ve choked on for over a decade, quicken my steps as I grab my handbag and go into the living room.
There are seventeen bags here, ready to be carried into my car. I stare at the bags, recalling the contents of each one. If this house was on fire, what would I take? I have to think about this because the first thing that occurs to me is nothing. I choose the overnight bag I’d planned to bring with me for the funeral and a leather pouch filled with gold jewelery. Musa can bring the rest of the bags to me another time.
This is it then — fifteen years here and, though my house is not on fire, all I’m taking is a bag of gold and a change of clothes. The things that matter are inside me, locked up below my breast as though in a grave, a place of permanence, my coffin-like treasure chest.
I step outside. The air is freezing and the black sky is turning purple in the horizon as the sun ascends. Musa is leaning against the car, cleaning his teeth with a stick. He spits into a cup as I approach and puts the chewing stick in his breast pocket. He opens the car door, we exchange greetings and I climb into the back seat.
Musa switches on the car radio and searches for stations. He settles for one that is starting the day’s broadcast with a recording of the national anthem. The security guard waves goodbye as we drive out of the compound. The road stretches before us, shrouded in a darkness transitioning into dawn as it leads me back to you.