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Stay with Me

Narrated by: Adjoa Andoh
Length: 8 hrs and 5 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (649 ratings)

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Summary

Longlisted for the 2018 Dylan Thomas Prize
Longlisted for the 2018 Wellcome Book Prize

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 thousands of 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, dances with prophets, appeals to God. But when her in-laws 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 '80s 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.

©2017 Ayobami Adebayo (P)2017 Canongate Books

Critic reviews

"Scorching, gripping, ultimately lovely." (Margaret Atwood)
"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." (The Times)
"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." (Guardian)

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What listeners say about Stay with Me

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Beautiful realism

This is a very beautifully written story about an issue which is still very real and taboo in Nigeria, causing many women to suffer unnecessarily. I couldn't put the book down. Adjoa Andoh is one of my favourite narrators and she didn't disappoint. Good, but not perfect attempts at Yoruba, but she still made it sound like she knew it well. This book left tears in my eyes.

22 people found this helpful

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Beautiful story

I am so glad that I found this wonderful book. The story took me from a place where I was crying with laughter to being filled with sadness as each of the main characters' back stories were revealed. The structure and pacing were well suited to the story being shared. I look forward to reading more from this author.
Thank you Audible for producing this story the narrator really brought the characters to life and I will listen to more books narrated by her.

19 people found this helpful

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A moving portrait of motherhood & family life

Any additional comments?

This story, set in 1980s Nigeria, was a slow-burner for me. I nearly gave up on it in the first few chapters because it reminded me of other novels set in Nigeria. But I'm so glad I stuck with it because it blossomed into a powerful portrayal of the pressures women face from family, society, tradition and their own biological make-up, to have children. It also addresses the painful reality and grief surrounding infertility, impotence and the trauma of losing babies/young children to illness.

The plot was well conceived and executed, giving weight to both the mother and the father's side of the story. The bittersweet ending was very well planned and helped to turn a tragic tale into one of hope for the future. The characters were many and varied and the author managed to introduce some humour (as well as horror) into a story that left me feeling sad and thoughtful.

The narration was excellent, full of light and dark tones and beautiful expression.

24 people found this helpful

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  • Ja
  • 13-08-18

Fascinating Journeys

This book was captivating on so many levels: - exceptional quality of the writing; - the way in which the author got into the heads of her characters; - the observation and vivid portrayal of Yoruba culture and mores. This was one of few books I’ve listened to at every opportunity. There are a few gripes though! - I found the premise of the married couple’s inability to have children implausible. Yejide lived in a compound with (copulating) animals, had been to an all girls’ school, was at university etc., and would have known Akin’s ‘explanation’ was incredible, literally. Why did she go along with this for five years? - There was no reflection that I picked up of how Akin reflected on/came to terms with Yejide’s ‘concealment’ of the new situation. Would such a calculating man be so cavalier, knowing his wife could hide something so fundamental? And lie to themselves about her pregnancies? Really? - The reason for the fight between the brothers seemed hypocritical and Yejide’s silence at the time uncharacteristic. - Sickle cell disease could be diagnosed at birth in Nigeria in the 1980s. She was exceptionally unlucky to have three SCD children, so would she really have done this to herself? Would Akin? What were Dotun’s reactions? Amniocentesis might have been available too, I’m unsure. But an educated couple like this would be unlikely to have taken three chances without medical intervention. I think there would have been some discussion between the three of them. Plus, it would be unusual for the babies not to have shown some symptom of SCD when they were younger rather than when they first became ill in the book, particularly Sesan. Nitpicking, I know, but for her next book perhaps Abayomi Adebayo could research any medical conditions a little more thoroughly, including treatment of Akin’s issue. - Such a wealthy household would have servants, a nanny etc. Their observations and gossip might have added an extra layer. - Adjoa Andoh’s narration was as ever first class, but (again) would have been better if she had had the right emphasis on the name Akin. Could she have a Yoruba elocutionist next time please?! Despite these latter comments, Stay With Me was an enjoyable, well-crafted novel. An impressive debut and then some! I look forward to Abayomi Adebayo’s next book.

11 people found this helpful

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Good first novel!

Ms. Andoh is the best voice for the job. She's even gotten a lot better with her Nigerian pronunciations.

10 people found this helpful

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  • T
  • 25-07-17

Stunning

I loved listening to this book. I particularly enjoyed the folktales/fairytales told throughout the story.

8 people found this helpful

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The sadness is relentless

It's a gripping book and very well narrated, however, the sadness starts to weigh you down and the ending feels rushed and disappointingly not in line with how the main character has been developed so you are left with a really sucky feeling

6 people found this helpful

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I really loved it.

A powerful narrative, with compelling revelations by lead characters. A superb debut presenting Nigeria sympathetically.

5 people found this helpful

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Bad accents and good stories

I enjoyed the story though I’m not sure the connections between the chapters/sequence worked as well as it could have. It reminded me in terms of form, of Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing. But that worked. The sequence felt effortless.but then again, the narration on that was also stellar. The narration here may of course...no. It did affect my appreciation of this book. The attempt at accents was woeful. Yoruba words lost their meaning, turns of phrase with humour lost that because the Naija English accent was so far from what it should have been and the names always sounded so heavy with emptiness. The narrator sounded like she was trying with the names but they were all so wrong. Yoruba is a tonal language. Wring pronunciation either gives a different word or a sound with no meaning. Maybe it’s fine for those who don’t know better but it was painful for me. Thing is, when the narrator didn’t bother with accents it was fine but that wasn’t the majority of the book. Audio publishers need to do better.

3 people found this helpful

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great story - terrible narration

story gave a different perspective on life. narrator - either use Nigerian accent or don't

2 people found this helpful

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  • Andrew
  • 23-04-20

GREAT STORY & NARRATOR, (MINOR RECORDING ERRORS)

THIS WAS AN ABSOLUTELY GREAT STORY AND ADOJA ANDOH DOES A GREAT JOB AT NARRATING. This book exposes the brutality of attaching childbearing to the value of a human being. It SHATTERS so many misconceptions of how we view children, as though they were some holy talisman that, once attained, will immediately satisfy and beautify our lives. On the contrary, their birth may usher in pain so harrowing that all we endured to have them pales in comparison - as a new father, I felt this the most. Finally, I think this book is most significant for what it says about men and how much a man’s inability to accept, not his reality, can cost and cost and cost and cost and cost. Adébáyọ̀'s use of langugae is outstanding. The creativity, not simply of her vocabulary but the brightness and aptness of her imagery, the variety of perspectives and topics presented, ensured that the story was consistently engaging to read. _____ WARNING - The book addresses sexual themes and there are two instances of cursing. _____ ///// RECORDING ERRORS//// :( There is one sore spot for me, not related to the novel itself, but to the audio production of the book which I devoured. The pull of great audiobooks is that they bring great stories to life. The problem however with otherwise great audiobooks is that because the listener is so engaged, every error is significant. I was able to hear three (3) errors in the audio recording. I only made a note upon encountering a second error: 1) This is minor. A voice over. As stated, I didn't note this one. 2) Chapter 27/min 4:00 - a break for 9 seconds 3) Chapter 32/min 416 - there is an overlap. Hopefully these errors will be addressed.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-03-20

Tugs upon your inner soul! Raw, funny and amazingly educational. Uncharacteristic love story.

The story kicks-off with such mystery that leaves you yearning for the back story of Yejide’s escape from her past. You instantly fall in love with Akin and Yejide’s love story without having fully understood the deficiency in their marital intimacy. You instantly want to protect them from the insensitive community and bad karma that surrounded them. The flood of emotions when you think you are done with one tragedy as another strikes is uncanny. Despite the fact that I couldn’t bear another loss for them, I was found I was already too vested to stop listening. The intellectual organization of this story leaves you in awe of the writer’s unbridled comprehension and intention to ride on the audiences’ biases. The comic relief was a surprising and a much needed touch. We needed to laugh in between the tears. Well written Ayobami. Thank you for giving us an appreciation of Nigerian culture. I felt like I was physically there. To Adjoa- 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽 Such a magnificent play of voices, articulation of the accents across the demographic representation of the characters. You shone so much color and light into this journey, and transported my emotions through a roller coaster of experience. I laughed and cried a lot. You took us where where we needed to be. I thank you.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 21-11-19

Taking desperate to another level

Didn't enjoy the change in voice tonality between characters but the book was lovely. Amazing the extremes this couple went through to keep their marriage and through it all neither knew.

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  • marilee
  • 07-03-19

Intimate and beautiful tale of African tradition,

Special narration, loved the different characters coming alive in my living room, wonderfully executed storytelling.

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  • Brenda Siara
  • 20-07-17

Jaw dropper

Seemed like a Nollywood movie for a moment there. Dancing on a mountain with traditional priests until she believed she was pregnant! For 11 months her belly was distended!!!
But the twist that follows is a more interesting one. Performance is incredible! Adjoa Andoh has outdone herself in this book. I've listened to her perform Americanah which was average. In Ghana Must Go, she does a little better, but here, this is the best I've heard her yet.

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  • Afoma
  • 04-05-17

Strong debut!

This novel has been on my to-read list since it was released and I'm so glad to have been able to get an Audible experience. Ayobami