You must be wondering why Ayobami Adebayo’s ‘Stay with me’ could not win the Prestigious Bailey’s award.
This is why……. Obviously something better struck- something electrifying.
They said Naomi’s ‘The Power’ won because it was electrifying. So I got an excerpt of ‘the power’ for you.
But remember, it’s electrifying, even the excerpt.
The men lock Roxy in the cupboard when they do it. What they don’t know is: she’s been locked in that cupboard before. When she’s naughty, her mum puts her there. Just for a few minutes. Till she calms down. Slowly, over the hours in there, she’s worked the lock loose with a ngernail or a paperclip in the screws. She could have taken that lock o any time she wanted. But she didn’t, because then her mum would have put a bolt on the outside. It’s enough for her to know, sitting in there in the dark, that if she really wanted to she could get out. The knowledge is as good as freedom. So that’s why they think they’ve locked her in, safe and sound. But she still gets out. That’s how she sees it. The men come at nine thirty in the evening. Roxy was supposed to have gone over to her cousins that night; it had been arranged for weeks, but she’d given her mum lip about not getting her the right tights from Primark, so her mum said, ‘You’re not going, you’re staying in.’ Like Roxy cared about going to her poxy cousins, anyway. When the blokes kick in the door and see her there, sulking on the sofa next to her mum, one of them goes, ‘Fuck, the girl’s here.’ There are two men, one taller with a face like a rat, the other shorter, square- jawed. She doesn’t know them. The short one grabs her mum by the throat; the tall one chases Roxy through the kitchen. She’s almost out the back door when he grabs her thigh; she falls forward and he’s got her by the waist.She’s kicking and shouting, ‘Fuck o , let me go!’ and when he puts a hand over her mouth she bites him so hard she tastes blood. He swears, but he doesn’t drop her. He carries her through the living room. The short one’s pushed her mum up against the replace. Roxy feels it start to build in her then, though she doesn’t know what it is. It’s just a feeling at her fingers’ ends, a prickle in her thumbs.