And The 2012 Bad Sex Award Winner Is...
Every year, Literary Review in England selects the worst descriptions of sex in books, and this year they've picked Nancy Huston, a Canadian-born, prestigious award-winning author whose not-so-titillating prose moved the judges to their decision. She beat out previous Bad Sex winner Tom Wolfe and Man Booker-nominated writer Nicola Barker, who wrote this:
She smells of almonds, like a plump Bakewell pudding; and he is the spoon, the whipped cream, the helpless dollop of warm custard.
The winning passages can be found in Huston's fourteenth novel, Infrared, about a woman who enjoys photographing her lovers during copulation. She describes flesh as "that archaic kingdom that brings forth tears and terrors, nightmares, babies and bedazzlements." The Guardian has a longer excerpt available for your reading pleasure. I particularly like this paragraph:
...never will I tire of that silvery fluidity, my sex swimming in joy like a fish in water, my self freed of both self and other, the quivering sensation, the carnal pink palpitation that detaches you from all colour and all flesh, making you see only stars, constellations, milky ways, propelling you bodiless and soulless into undulating space where the undulating skies make your non-body undulate...
Bad sex notwithstanding, the book has received some solid reviews, and the premise sounds interesting. According to The Huffington Post, Independent critic Shirley Whiteside even praised the sex scenes for containing "none of the lazy cliches of pornography or the purple prose of modern romantic fiction," though she did identify the prose as less erotic, more perfunctory.
Ms. Huston was not present to receive her award, though her publicist was there to read a statement, in which the author hoped her novel would "incite thousands of British women to take close-up photos of their lovers' bodies in all states of array and disarray."
So what does everyone else think? Are Huston's sexual descriptions worthy of the prize? What are some of the best worst you've read this year (other than Fifty Shades, please)?
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