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“Stay with Me” by Ayobami Adebayo is a novel that has captured the hearts of readers around the world. The poignant tale of love, loss, and cultural expectations is a masterful portrayal of Nigerian society and family dynamics.

This audiobook version of “Stay with Me” is not to be missed. The captivating narrative and immersive performances of the voice actors bring the story to life in a way that is both riveting and emotional.

Key Takeaways

  • “Stay with Me” by Ayobami Adebayo is a heart-wrenching novel that depicts the complexities of love and family in Nigerian society.
  • The audiobook version of the novel is a must-listen, with its captivating narrative and immersive performances.
  • Readers will be moved by the themes of the book, including love, loss, and cultural expectations.
  • The characters in “Stay with Me” are well-developed and relatable, adding depth to the already rich story.
  • Overall, “Stay with Me” is a poignant and thought-provoking novel that is sure to resonate with readers of all backgrounds.

Overview of “Stay with Me”

Published in 2017, “Stay with Me” is a novel by Ayobami Adebayo that tells the story of Yejide and Akin, a Nigerian couple who are struggling to conceive a child. Set against the backdrop of political turmoil in 1980s Nigeria, the novel explores themes of love, family, culture, and the pressures of societal expectations.

The novel is divided into four parts, each of which is narrated from the perspectives of either Yejide or Akin. The first part sets the scene for the couple’s infertility struggles, while the subsequent parts delve deeper into their complex relationship and the lengths to which they are willing to go to start a family.

Adebayo’s writing style is as beautiful as it is haunting, weaving together vivid descriptions and emotional depth to capture the complexity of the characters and their experiences. The result is a gripping and thought-provoking novel that is not easily forgotten.

Plot Summary

The novel opens with Yejide’s discovery that her husband, Akin, has brought home a young woman, Funmi, who he plans to marry as a second wife in order to produce a child. This sets off a chain of events that ultimately leads to tragedy, as Yejide and Akin’s relationship is tested to the breaking point.

Throughout the novel, Yejide and Akin struggle to conceive a child, trying everything from praying to doctors to superstitions. As their desperation grows, they become increasingly consumed by their desire for a child, leading to secrets, lies, and betrayal.

Main Characters

Character Description
Yejide A strong-willed woman who is determined to become a mother, despite the societal pressure to do so.
Akin Yejide’s husband, who is torn between his love for Yejide and his desire for a child.
Funmi Akin’s second wife, who is introduced as a means of producing a child.
Iya Bolu Yejide’s mother, who is obsessed with seeing her daughter have a child.

Other notable characters include Dr. Ajayi, a doctor who treats Yejide and Akin, and Moomi, Yejide’s childhood friend.

Literary Analysis

As a work of literature, “Stay with Me” is a masterful creation, drawing upon various literary devices to convey its rich narrative and themes. Ayobami Adebayo’s writing style is notable for its intricacy, and the novel makes use of symbolism and metaphor to great effect. The imagery, particularly relating to the natural world, is vivid and evocative, contributing to the book’s emotional resonance and sense of place.

One of the key themes explored in “Stay with Me” is the tension between tradition and modernity, which is conveyed through the character of Yejide and the expectations placed upon her by society. The novel also delves into the complexities of love and relationships, with the central couple engaging in a powerful and ultimately tragic romance. The themes of motherhood and familial obligation are also prominent throughout, with characters grappling with their roles within their families and society as a whole.

The use of multiple narrators, each with their own perspective and voice, adds depth and complexity to the novel, and serves to further underscore the interpersonal conflicts and struggles explored within the book. Additionally, the author skillfully employs foreshadowing and dramatic irony to ratchet up the tension and create a sense of looming tragedy.


From the vivid imagery of the natural world to the use of objects with deeply symbolic meaning, “Stay with Me” is replete with instances of symbolism. Indeed, the red towel that appears throughout the novel is a potent symbol of both Yejide’s fertility and her struggles to conceive, for example. Similarly, the recurring motif of rain serves as a symbol of both cleansing and renewal, as well as the inevitability of change.

The Author’s Writing Style

Ayobami Adebayo’s writing is noted for its lyricism and complexity, with a rich vocabulary and keen eye for detail. The novel is also notable for its shifting perspectives and temporality, with events depicted out of sequence in order to create a sense of richness and depth. Adebayo’s prose is often poetic, with beautiful turns of phrase that draw the reader into the emotional core of the novel. Overall, her writing style is vibrant and engaging, making “Stay with Me” a must-read for anyone interested in contemporary literature.

Narration Performance

The audiobook version of “Stay with Me” by Ayobami Adebayo features an exceptional narration performance that brings the characters to life. The voice actors exhibit incredible talent, managing to convey the complex emotions and cultural nuances present in the novel with remarkable accuracy.

The narration is clear and articulate, making it easy for the listener to follow along with the story. The intonation and pacing are on point, creating a tone that is both engaging and appropriately emotive.

Overall, the narration performance in the audiobook version of “Stay with Me” adds an immersive and highly enjoyable listening experience to an already compelling narrative.

Plot Analysis

In “Stay with Me” by Ayobami Adebayo, the plot is a complex, multi-layered creation that skillfully weaves together themes of love, loss, and family obligation.

The story follows the lives of Yejide and Akin, two emotionally complex characters caught between fulfilling their responsibilities to their family and pursuing their personal desires. As the plot unfolds, secrets and lies rise to the surface, causing the already-tenuous relationships between characters to fracture even further.

Despite the intricate narrative structure, Adebayo manages to keep readers engaged with frequent twists and turns that lead to unexpected outcomes. For example, the revelation of Yejide’s past pregnancies and the truth about Akin’s relationship with Funmi add depth and complexity to the plot, forcing readers to reevaluate their understanding of the characters and their motivations.

Overall, the plot of “Stay with Me” is both emotionally resonant and intellectually stimulating, providing readers with a thought-provoking exploration of the complexities of human relationships and the sacrifices we make for the ones we love.

Character Development

In “Stay with Me,” Ayobami Adebayo expertly crafts dynamic and multi-dimensional characters that evolve throughout the story, adding depth and complexity to the narrative.

The novel’s main characters, Yejide and Akin, both undergo significant changes throughout the course of the novel as they navigate the complexities of love, family, and cultural expectations. Yejide, in particular, experiences a powerful transformation as her desire for a child clashes with her personal aspirations and societal pressures.

Through Yejide and Akin’s interactions with their families and each other, Adebayo explores themes of gender roles, marriage, and parenthood, highlighting the impact that cultural norms and expectations can have on individual growth and identity.

Character Development

As the novel progresses, readers witness the emotional and psychological turmoil that the characters undergo, which further underscores the importance of character development in “Stay with Me.”

Themes Explored

In “Stay with Me” by Ayobami Adebayo, various themes are explored that provide readers with thought-provoking insights into the complexities of Nigerian society and human relationships.

Love and Marriage

The novel highlights the struggles that women experience with gender expectations and their desire for love and companionship. Yejide and Akin’s relationship is a portrayal of how societal pressure to reproduce can lead to the breakdown of intimate connections.


The novel depicts the sacrifices and complications of familial relationships. Yejide’s family expectations cause tension when she fails to conceive a child, and her relationships with her family suffer as a result. Meanwhile, Akin has to navigate the pressure of a polygamous household built on tradition and the cultural expectation of maintaining dignity and respect.

Cultural Expectations

The novel explores how traditional beliefs and customs influence contemporary Nigerian life. It highlights the complexities and challenges of cultural expectations, such as the expectation of having children, being obedient to one’s family, and the struggle for individuality in the face of social expectations.

Gender Dynamics

The novel illustrates the gender inequalities that exist in Nigeria and in many parts of the world. It portrays the patriarchal system that often leaves women marginalized and oppressed. Women are expected to conform to rigid societal expectations and forfeit their autonomy, while men are granted power and prestige regardless of their actions.

Overall, “Stay with Me” by Ayobami Adebayo is a poignant and emotional exploration of the complexities of love, family, cultural expectations, and gender dynamics in Nigeria and beyond.

Critical Reception

Since its publication in 2017, “Stay with Me” has garnered widespread critical acclaim. Ayobami Adebayo’s exploration of Nigeria’s turbulent political and social landscape is a tour de force of storytelling, one that “killed the competition” according to The Guardian.

The New York Times praised the novel’s “unforgettable characters” and “searing emotional resonance,” while NPR hailed the book as a “triumph of storytelling” that “will stay with [readers] long after they’ve turned the final page.”

Publication Rating Review Excerpt
The Guardian 5/5 stars “A powerful novel about the ties that bind.”
The New York Times Highly Recommended “A devastating yet beautiful portrayal of love and loss.”
NPR A+ “A must-read for anyone who loves great literature.”

However, the book has not been without controversy. Some readers have criticized Adebayo’s portrayal of gender roles in Nigerian society, with The Independent calling the novel “problematic” in this regard. Nonetheless, the overwhelming critical response to “Stay with Me” has cemented it as one of the most powerful and essential works of fiction in recent memory, one that is sure to remain a staple of literature for years to come.

Reader’s Perspective

“Stay with Me” by Ayobami Adebayo is a story that resonates deeply with readers. The complex relationships, cultural expectations, and themes of love and family all come together to create a narrative that is both captivating and thought-provoking.

Many readers have praised the book for its ability to evoke powerful emotions. The characters are written with such depth and complexity that readers can’t help but become invested in their lives and the struggles they face. The novel’s examination of marriage, parenthood, and infertility also provides important insights into the human experience.

As readers engage with “Stay with Me,” they often find themselves reflecting on their own lives and relationships. The novel’s honest portrayal of the difficulties and joys of familial love can be both comforting and challenging, forcing readers to confront their own beliefs and values.

Overall, “Stay with Me” is a deeply moving and impactful read that will stay with readers long after they finish the last page.

Comparisons and Similar Works

“Stay with Me” by Ayobami Adebayo is a unique and captivating novel that explores themes of family, love, and cultural expectations. If you enjoyed this book and are looking for similar works, here are a few recommendations:

Book Title Author Similarities
The Mothers Brit Bennett Explores the complexities of relationships and secrets within a small community.
A Kind of Freedom Margaret Wilkerson Sexton Examines the impact of racism and systemic oppression on one family over several generations.
Behold the Dreamers Imbolo Mbue Explores the struggles of immigrants in America and the tension between personal aspirations and societal expectations.

Disclaimer: While these books share similarities with “Stay with Me,” they may have different writing styles, themes, and subject matter. We encourage readers to explore these works and form their own opinions.


Overall, “Stay with Me” by Ayobami Adebayo is a poignant and captivating novel that explores the complexities of family, love, and cultural expectations. The audiobook version offers a stellar performance by the voice actors, bringing the characters to life in a way that is both authentic and emotionally resonant.

Adebayo’s writing style is both lyrical and precise, creating a narrative that is both engaging and thought-provoking. The characters are well-developed and their relationships are explored in depth, adding to the emotional impact of the story.

The themes presented in “Stay with Me” are universal and relevant, making this novel a must-read for anyone interested in exploring the human experience. It has garnered critical acclaim for good reason and has become a beloved work of contemporary fiction.

In conclusion, “Stay with Me” is a powerful and moving novel that will stay with readers long after they’ve finished the last page. Adebayo’s masterful storytelling and the standout narration performance in the audiobook version make it a must-listen for fans of literary fiction.


What is "Stay with Me" by Ayobami Adebayo?

“Stay with Me” is a novel written by Ayobami Adebayo. It is a captivating story set in Nigeria, exploring themes of love, family, and cultural expectations.

What is the plot of "Stay with Me"?

The plot of “Stay with Me” revolves around the lives of Yejide and Akin, a married couple facing challenges in their relationship. As they navigate fertility struggles, societal pressures, and personal secrets, their love is tested in profound ways.

Who are the main characters in "Stay with Me"?

The main characters in “Stay with Me” are Yejide and Akin. Yejide is a strong-willed woman longing for a child, and Akin is her husband who is torn between tradition and love for his wife.

What are some literary aspects explored in "Stay with Me"?

In “Stay with Me,” Ayobami Adebayo explores themes of sacrifice, betrayal, family dynamics, and cultural expectations. The novel also employs powerful symbolism and a compelling writing style to convey its message.

How is the narration performance in the audiobook version of "Stay with Me"?

The narration performance in the audiobook version of “Stay with Me” is outstanding. The voice actors bring the characters to life, capturing the emotions and nuances of the story.

What are some key plot twists and turns in "Stay with Me"?

“Stay with Me” is filled with unexpected plot twists and turns that keep the readers engaged. Without giving away too much, the story takes surprising directions in relation to Yejide and Akin’s relationship and their quest for a child.

How are the characters developed in "Stay with Me"?

The characters in “Stay with Me” undergo significant development throughout the novel. Yejide and Akin face personal growth, making difficult choices that impact their relationship and individual identities.

What major themes are explored in "Stay with Me"?

“Stay with Me” explores themes of love, betrayal, tradition, family expectations, and the role of women in Nigerian society. It also delves into the complexities of motherhood and the enduring nature of personal connections.

How was "Stay with Me" received by critics?

“Stay with Me” received widespread critical acclaim. It was praised for its rich storytelling, emotional depth, and exploration of cultural themes. The novel also garnered several prestigious literary awards and nominations.

How does "Stay with Me" resonate with readers?

“Stay with Me” resonates with readers by touching on universal experiences of love, loss, and the complexities of relationships. It prompts deep reflection on societal expectations, the sacrifices we make for those we love, and the endurance of the human spirit.

Are there any similar works to "Stay with Me" that readers might enjoy?

Fans of “Stay with Me” may also enjoy other works such as “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “Half of a Yellow Sun” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and “Purple Hibiscus” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. These novels explore similar themes and offer compelling narratives.

What is the overall assessment of the audiobook "Stay with Me" by Ayobami Adebayo?

The audiobook version of “Stay with Me” is a standout performance, complementing the powerful storytelling and capturing the essence of the characters. It is a must-listen for fans of the novel and those seeking a deeply moving and thought-provoking narrative.

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