The article below contains the occasional use of frank language. It is meant to be partly humorous, and I think is only a little bit crude; however, please do not read on if you’re likely to be offended.
I notice that this week US author James Frey, with his novel Katerina, has won the Literary Reviews Bad Sex in fiction award. The prize was established in 1993 to honour “an author who has produced an outstandingly bad scene of sexual description in an otherwise good novel.”
As ever, it is amusing to read some of the extracts from the shortlisted works, although only fair to note that a. some of these may be extracted from otherwise estimable works (as the above criteria for the prize suggests), and that b. like the act itself, judging any type of ‘bad’ or indeed ‘good’ literature is going to hold a degree of subjectivity. Perhaps to his credit, Frey’s response to winning began “I am deeply honored and humbled to receive this prestigious award…” and continued on a generous note (though having said that, his book overall seems to have had a bit of a critical mauling). This year, novel and author were selected from an all-male shortlist (make of that what you will – or not).
Unfortunate use of simile and metaphor appear to be the undoing on many of the short-listed writers. For instance, from this year’s shortlist we have Murakami’s Killing Commendatore: “… that part of her actively swallowed my penis, immersing it in what felt like warm butter” (really?) and Scoundrels by Major Victor Cornwall and Major Arthur St John Trevelyan: “Soon I was locked in, balls deep, ready to be ground down by the enameled pepper mill within her…” (An interesting culinary theme emerging there). Back in 2005, previous winner of the prize Giles Coren described male genitalia as “leaping around like a shower dropped in an empty bath” in his debut novel Winkler. In 2010, Rowan Somerville won with The Shape of Her and such description as: “Like a lepidopterist mounting a tough-skinned insect with a too blunt pin he screwed himself into her.” And so on…
As I posted following the announcement of the award last year, re-blogged below, it seems a shame there is not a regular Good Sex award. This absence may be related to the apparent fact that the genre of erotica is often so disdained, and has in some minds become associated with a very specific type of novel, the ‘billionaire alpha male’ / Fifty Shades of Grey clone. Of course, “good” sex scenes don’t have to appear in ‘erotica’, and, in any case, can be sensual, tender — or even absurd.
Read the original post at https://librepaley.com/2017/12/27/award-goes-to/