In case you’re stuck for new books to read or want to know what’s coming out, here are my top books for March, with quick summaries and links if I’ve posted a review somewhere.
Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo – A moving story about hope, love, and freedom, set in Nigeria between 1985 and 2008 and charting Yejide and her husband Akin’s attempts to have children and live as the family they have imagined.
The Lonely City by Olivia Laing – A memoir of loneliness in New York mixed with details and histories of major twentieth century artists who suffered from the same issue and how art and loneliness can connect.
Nasty Women by 404 Ink – A collection of essays about intersectional issues facing women in the twenty first century, often moving and funny.
Stay With Me is an addictive read about a woman, Yejide, her husband, and her attempts to have children, set in Nigeria from 1985 to 2008. It is a novel about hope and it is the hope that keeps you reading, a hope for Yejide and for her husband Akin and for the hope that hope is worth it after all.
Adebayo’s book is often a subtle one, showing character relationships and moments rather than immediately telling the reader what to think or how everybody felt. The main characters are rounded and flawed, often thinking they know everything but missing crucial details. Yejide’s emotions in particular, from her huge desire to get pregnant to her feelings in the important final moments of the book, come across through the writing very effectively, making this a novel thoroughly grounded in its characters. The writing style is easy to get into and gripping, with the narrative jumping from Yejide’s point of view to Akin’s in order to show events from both sides. Neither character is wrong, but both characters think, hope, and love in different ways.
I read a proof of Stay With Me from Canongate (via NetGalley) after having been interested by the promotion of the book so far and it didn’t disappoint. It is a novel that draws you into the world of its characters and their lives. Stay With Me is literary fiction with emotion.