Stay with Me is a complicated novel but certainly not complex. The novel is basically a woman remembering the various situations and decisions that had a profound effect on her life while in an unstable mental state.

For the bigger part of the novel, she remembers two things: her visit to a war torn area (probably Afghanistan) to write a story about the Mujahideen (or Taliban) where she falls into a love affair and an acquaintance with a historian. These memories come to her with difficulty. She is in a constant dreamy state slipping in and out of consciousness. A state where memories form a collage, mixing into each other like dyes in water, sometimes making sense and nonsense otherwise.

The other part is focused on her relationship with the state entity (probably the Pakistan Army which has a reputation of usurping civil governments in the past). This entity first makes her the face of the government on the basis of her popular public image (as a journalist). However, the two parties don’t agree on how things should be done and so chaos follows.

The woman is jailed and tortured. This torture leads her into an unstable state. Thus, the whole novel revolves around major events leading to her dismal situation.

The novel did not make a lot of sense. It was not easy reading it and it was a relief to finally finish it. The only question I have for the author is why did she write this novel in the first place when a short story may have sufficed.

Rating: 1/5