Date & Time
Tuesday, October 26, 2021
Seminary Co-op Bookstore
Join us for a conversation with Asali Solomon on her book, "The Days of Afrekete". She will be joined in discussion by Rebecca Makkai.
Presented in partnership with American Writer's Museum
About the book: Liselle Belmont is having a dinner party. It seems a strange occasion--her husband, Winn, has lost his bid for the state legislature--but what better way to thank key supporters than a feast? Liselle was never sure about her husband becoming a politician, never sure about the limelight, never sure about the life of fundraising and stump speeches. Then an FBI agent calls to warn her that Winn might be facing corruption charges. An avalanche of questions tumbles around her: Is it possible he's guilty? Who are they to each other; who have they become? How much of herself has she lost--and was it worth it? And just this minute, how will she make it through this dinner party? Across town, Selena Octave is making her way through the same day, the same way she always does--one foot in front of the other, keeping quiet and focused, trying not to see the terrors all around her. Homelessness, starving children, the very living horrors of history that made America possible: these and other thoughts have made it difficult for her to live an easy life. The only time she was ever really happy was with Liselle, back in college. But they've lost touch, so much so that when they ran into each other at a drugstore just after Obama was elected president, they barely spoke. But as the day wears on, memories of Liselle begin to shift Selena's path.
Inspired by "Mrs. Dalloway" and "Sula", as well as Audre Lorde's "Zami", Asali Solomon's "The Days of Afrekete" is a deft, expertly layered, naturally funny, and deeply human examination of two women coming back to themselves at midlife. It is a watchful celebration of our choices and where they take us, the people who change us, and how we can reimagine ourselves even when our lives seem set.
About the author: Asali Solomon’s first novel, Disgruntled, was a best book of the year at the San Francisco Chronicle and The Denver Post. Her first book, Get Down, earned her a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” honor, and was a finalist for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Her work has appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine, Vibe, Essence, The Paris Review’s The Daily, McSweeney’s, and several anthologies, and on NPR. Solomon teaches fiction writing and literature of the African diaspora at Haverford College. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she lives there with her husband and two sons.
About the interlocutor: Rebecca Makkai is the Chicago-based author of the novels The Great Believers, The Hundred-Year House, and The Borrower, as well as the short story collection Music for Wartime.