Yes, it's that time again! Literary Review gave their Bad Sex In Fiction Awards yesterday. I’ve blogged about this award for the last few years and this year’s winners once again have me shaking my head. I know literary fiction is different than romance but the only emotions these excerpts evoke in me is “huh?”
Here’s a nice literary example from Rhyming Life and Death by Amos Oz (Chatto & Windus):
“She holds him tight and squeezes her body to his, sending delightful sailing boats tacking to and fro across the ocean of his back. With her fingertips she sends foam-flecked waves scurrying over his skin... “
Gotta love those metaphors. And let’s extend the marine metaphor even more:
“Attentive to the very faintest of signals, like some piece of sonar equipment that can detect sounds in the deep imperceptible to the human ear, he registers the flow of tiny moans that rise from inside her as he continues to excite her, receiving and unconsciously classifying the fine nuances that differentiate one moan from another, in his skin rather than in his ears he feels the minute variations in her breathing, he feels the ripples in her skin, as though he has been transformed into a delicate seismograph that intercepts and instantly deciphers her body's reactions, translating what he has discovered into skilful, precise navigation, anticipating and cautiously avoiding every sandbank, steering clear of each underwater reef…”
This one from Ten Storey Love Song by Richard Milward (Faber & Faber) is particularly creative:
“They shag at double-speed: Inthekitchenthrydospoonsonthebreakfast baramongstallthecutlerytheninthebathroomtheyshowereachotherwithhotkissesandGeorgiekneelsinthepisserwhileBobbydoesheruptheshitterthenintheloungtheybounceupanddownonthesofathenin thebedroomtheysqueakthespringsofthemattress. Meanwhile, down in Vaginaland, Mr Condom's beginning to feel a bit iffy.”
And the winner for 2009 is Jonathan Littell with The Kindly Ones (Chatto & Windus). I wholeheartedly support this one as the winner. Here’s a brief excerpt:
“Her vulva was opposite my face. The small lips protruded slightly from the pale, domed flesh. This sex was watching at me, spying on me, like a Gorgon's head, like a motionless Cyclops whose single eye never blinks. If only I could still get hard, I thought, I could use my prick like a stake hardened in the fire, and blind this Polyphemus who made me Nobody. But my cock remained inert…”
Though then miraculously:
"without moving, I came in an immense splash of white light”.
As I mentioned last year, I know that taking passages out of context can render even the most beautiful writing ridiculous, and all these stories probably have much to say about the human experience. I think I’ll keep reading about love.