Simon Brooke – Harem


Let me just start by saying how much misjustice this cover does for Simon Brooke‘s book “Harem“. It’s often like that, thou, with the e-editions of the books. And to think that one day they’ll be the first-choice… Anyways, the book. I know Simon Brooke and I am proud to tell people I call the author a friend, even before the book was published. I’ve read some of his things before and thus I knew it’ll be worth the time one way or another and I was not disappointed. Only by the cover, thou. Cover is bad. Why? Well, when you look at it and see the title “Harem”, you think of this neo-arabian-prince with a bunch of model girls around him, who bend at his whim (no pun intended), but that is not so.

The only male in the Harem is Thor. He’s from Iceland and he’s a footballer (soccer, if you wish). The women around him are very different and unique, they’re smart, charming and they’re real people. You know how the books go, this or that character always ends up being a filler for another. This is not the case. When I say they’re real people, I mean that each one of them has their own character, character that does not falter to suit someone else’s. Each one could take on the lead of the book and the story would not be harmed, for each one seemed important, different, with all those details and aspects about them. They aren’t just spilling “right” lines to seem attractive to the reader, no, you will love this one and you might dislike that one. They do agree on one thing thou – there are no leaders in the Harem. It’s a family, and was Thor to go, they’d go on without him.

As I said, Harem is a large family and we get the introductions with members and it’s structure through Fiona, a journalist who was hired by them to write a honest story, a true story, for she seemed fit for it. Warts and all, as they said, and so it began. The ceiling in the first floor is made of glass, so you can see all what happens in the second floor, and what happens is people are taking showers, having sex, dressing up or whatever one does. Ladies walk around their home nude or with barely anything on. And yet there’s no sheer vulgarity. Bit by bit they all explain why they joined the family, the harem. Bit by bit you start buying it, this whole large family thing. They care for each other, they stand up for each other, they protect each other and love each other. They vote through important decisions and make sure everyone is okay with changes or what not.

And just when I was about to get bored to read about this idyllic life, family of friends (and lovers, if you please – you can be part of the Harem and not participate in sexual activities, it’s your choice alone) – Boom. Literally. Dynamite on the gate, kidnapping, negotiations and suddenly whole world of the Harem shifts again. Sure, people dislike them enough as is, considering it abnormal, you know how people are, but this was beyond that. One of the harem members is missing and everyone is put for the test. We suddenly see the different side of the coin and yet it only proves what they told society before – it’s a family. A big family, no matter how you look at it…

It’s not a chick-flick type of a book, no. There’s thriller, there’s drama, there’s romance, there’s sex and there’s debates (I may be crazy, but I liked those the best, especially the energy debate Thor had with Sigi). But best of all, it’s the type of the book which you put down at night, because your eyes are already sore, and your mind just keeps on rolling – why did that happen? How will it end? will she be okay? What if she dies? What then? Where will they be? What will they do?…

It’s a great book and I loved it a lot. I’ll give it a firm 5/5 and put it into my favorite list. It’s not the type of the book I usually like either. Strange thing, I tell you…

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