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The Days of Afrekete

Years after their romance has ended, two Black women reconnect and rediscover their identities.

Guided by the author,

With the author,

Asali Solomon

Hosted by,

Karah Preiss

&

Guided by the authors,

Asali Solomon

&

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About

The Days of Afrekete

Part of the

Belletrist

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<club-desc-paragraph>Liselle Belmont’s husband has lost his bid for the state legislature. As a last “hurrah,” she decides to plan a dinner party for his supporters, but questions and doubts accumulate once she learns he might be indicted for corruption. Can this be true? Who has Liselle become? And how is she going to make it through this awkward dinner party?<club-desc-paragraph>

<club-desc-paragraph>Liselle reaches out to her ex-lover, Selena, and the two women re-enter each other’s lives. Author Asali Solomon deftly shifts between past and present, building up to a stunning finale.<club-desc-paragraph>

<club-desc-paragraph>Inspired by Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, Toni Morrison’s Sula, and Audre Lorde’s Zami, The Days of Afrekete examines the choices that shape us and the potential we have to rediscover ourselves. Explore the novel’s deeper questions about race, class, and the power of human connection with conversations between Belletrist Co-Founder Karah Preiss and the author herself.<club-desc-paragraph>

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<club-landing-h3>Background<club-landing-h3>

<club-landing-paragraph>Asali and Karah discuss how the author determined the chronology of her work. Asali also shares her experience with the novel’s setting, Philadelphia—its diversity, eccentricity, and evolution through gentrification—as a starting place for her writing process.<club-landing-paragraph>

<club-landing-h3>The World of the Book<club-landing-h3>

<club-landing-paragraph>The idea for The Days of Afrekete came from the structure of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, as well as a question Asali had about Toni Morrison’s Sula. The author discusses these literary influences, as well as how the figure of Afrekete—pulled from Audre Lorde’s work—presents itself in her novel. Asali also touches on the importance of music in developing characters and setting scenes.<club-landing-paragraph>

<club-landing-h3>Shifting Timelines, Shifting Identities<club-landing-h3>

<club-landing-paragraph>In her novel, Asali toggles between past and present, focusing on Liselle’s experience at middle age and in college. Asali and Karah explore these moments in time, as well as how the novel’s characters—and real-life people—handle shifts in sexuality and socioeconomic status.<club-landing-paragraph>

<club-landing-h3>Identity, Race & Class<club-landing-h3>

<club-landing-paragraph>Class distinctions create tension between characters in the novel, including Liselle and Xochitl, the woman who helps her in the kitchen (and whose name she can’t pronounce). Asali addresses these tensions and also introduces the idea that certain relationships, namely romantic ones, can serve as a source of safety or socioeconomic alliance.<club-landing-paragraph>

<club-landing-h3>The Book Cover & Future Work<club-landing-h3>

<club-landing-paragraph>Asali and Karah talk about the novel’s symbolic cover art, a piece by photographer and multimedia artist Lorna Simpson. Asali also reveals her potential next writing project, its character, setting, and themes.<club-landing-paragraph>

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