HAREM WISH by Jan Carr


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 A modern lesbian affair inspires fantasies of a past-life romance in this gawky, enthusiastic adult fiction debut by a children's book author. Although Codie James has abandoned her suburban Ohio hometown for New York, memories of an equivocal, possibly sexual, experience with her father and her mother's subsequent nervous breakdown continue to haunt her. Laboring in the editorial offices of a children's publishing house, twentysomething Codie suffers a tiresome series of failed heterosexual affairs before falling for breathtakingly assertive Dee T. Matthews, a black, female cab driver and occasional writer. Delighted with her new lover, Codie settles down for what she hopes will be a lifetime of cozy evenings spent critiquing each other's story ideas and watching The Newlywed Game. But Codie has to admit that Dee is ``a global kind of girl,'' and the cabbie's eye soon begins to wander. Fear of losing Dee and increased pressure at the office send Codie spinning emotionally; she begins dreaming of a former life in ancient Arabia, where she believes she first met Dee in a harem and fell in love. Codie's obsession with this imagined past increases as her present life disintegrates. Dee moves out, and Codie's fantasies of illicit sex and ancient intrigue take over after she loses her job. The tragic story of her two invented concubines must play itself out before Codie can wake up to the beauty of the present day and lay to rest her longing for Dee. The author's sloppy evocation of both ancient and modern settings vies throughout with her contagious enthusiasm for romantic love, resulting in a dead draw of a novel: amateurish but endearingly cheerful. ``In my experience,'' Codie says, ``when your heart is full to overflowing, the corniest things spill out of your mouth.'' In this case, all too true.

Pub Date: April 7th, 1994
ISBN: 0-525-93739-0
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1994


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