The Paris Review

Great Expectations: An Interview with Ayobami Adebayo

Photo: Pixels Digital

Stay with Me, the debut novel by Nigerian Ayobami Adebayo, explores a contemporary marriage in a Yoruba community stubbornly tied to tradition. Despite suspicious in-laws, scheming second wives, and secretive spouses, Yejide and Akin try to break from their obstinate middle-class neighbors’ outdated views on matrimony. Akin, an accountant and the eldest son in an influential family, initially rejects the notion of polygamy; Yejide takes pride in her successful beauty salon and her forward-thinking views on life and motherhood. Yejide’s inability to get pregnant, however, tests the couple’s values, and their future.

In her last review for the New York Times, Michiko Kakutani described Stay with Me as being “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.” 

In a nearly hour-long telephone conversation from Brooklyn to Nigeria (with a three-second delay and an interviewer just discovering voice recording via cell phone), Adebayo reflected on the characters she had a difficult time getting to know and whom she subsequently couldn’t let go. 

INTERVIEWER

Yejide will join a pantheon of unforgettable literary heroines. How did you find her?

ADEBAYO

Stai leggendo un'anteprima, registrati per continuare a leggere.

Altro da The Paris Review

The Paris Review8 min letti
Comics as System
In his new column “Line Readings,” Ivan Brunetti begins with a close read of a single comics unit—a panel, a page, or a spread—and expands outward to encompass the history of comics, and the world as a whole.  Pictures and words, pictures as words,
The Paris Review5 min lettiSociety
The Exceptional Dovey Johnson Roundtree
Dovey Johnson Roundtree. We have all heard that the arc of the moral universe bends toward justice, but during dark and difficult times, it’s sometimes a challenge to see it curving in the right direction. History tells us the stories of the great me
The Paris Review2 min letti
Redux: Credible Threats That Appear and Disappear Like Clockwork
Every week, the editors of The Paris Review lift the paywall on a selection of interviews, stories, poems, and more from the magazine’s archive. You can have these unlocked pieces delivered straight to your inbox every Sunday by signing up for the Re