1

Jade Colbert

Ayobami Adebayo's debut novel opens in 2008 with a mystery. Directed at "you," the short chapter references a 15-year estrangement now coming to an end, its cause and the reasons for its conclusion both undefined.

The narrative then rockets back to 1985: Yejide and Akin are a loving couple living in Ilesa in southwestern Nigeria. Both are university-educated and working – they are set for a prosperous future. One catch: after trying through four years of marriage, they have yet to have children; Akin's family pushes him to take a second wife, against Akin's wishes.

Like The Fishermen, Chigozie Obioma's 2015 debut, Stay with Me is a domestic novel set against Nigerian politics, to equal effect. More than backdrop or plot device, national politics is a macrocosm for the themes explored in the household. Set primarily during Ibrahim Babangida's military junta, Stay with Me (shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction when it was published in the Britain earlier this year) explores the meaning of trust, and whether it can be regained in both a family and a country.

...

Ayobami Adebayo’s debut novel opens in 2008 with a mystery. Directed at “you,” the short chapter references a 15-year estrangement now coming to an end, its cause and the reasons for its conclusion both undefined.

The narrative then rockets back to 1985: Yejide and Akin are a loving couple living in Ilesa in southwestern Nigeria. Both are university-educated and working – they are set for a prosperous future. One catch: after trying through four years of marriage, they have yet to have children; Akin’s family pushes him to take a second wife, against Akin’s wishes.

Like The Fishermen, Chigozie Obioma’s 2015 debut, Stay with Me is a domestic novel set against Nigerian politics, to equal effect. More than backdrop or plot device, national politics is a macrocosm for the themes explored in the household. Set primarily during Ibrahim Babangida’s military junta, Stay with Me (shortlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction when it was published in the Britain earlier this year) explores the meaning of trust, and whether it can be regained in both a family and a country.

Share this!