YES! YES! YES! It's the Bad Sex Awards
Forget about the Edgar. Who cares about the Booker? Every year, I tremble with anticipation for the Ignoble Prize -- the Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Awards.
The award was founded in 1993 "draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it." And to assure a level playing field, the award is open ONLY to modern literary fiction. No earnest romance, cheesy international thrillers or Henry Miller allowed.
This year's winner? Well, he's won the Pulitzer Prize twice and the National Book Award once, but now Norman Mailer, who died last month at the age of 84, fought off a formible list of finalists to take home top prize for his book The Castle in the Forest.
But as they say, it's always an honor just to be nominated. So, for the record, here were your finalists:
Jeanette Winterson's The Stone Gods
Ian McEwan's On Chesil Beach
Richard Milward's Apples
Ali Smith's Girl Meets Boy
Maria Peura's At the Edge of Light
James Delingpole's Coward on the Beach
David Thewlis's The Late Hector Kipling
Quim Monzo's The Enormity of the Tragedy
Gary Shteyngart's Absurdistan
Christopher Rush's Will
Claire Clark's The Nature of Monsters
Because I know how hard it is to write about sex without sounding like a fifteen-year-old boy, I've been following these awards pretty closely for years now and there is always a trend or two. Last year it was odd little nicknames for the female privates. This year there seems to be an obsession with pubic hair. (Hey, I am just the reporter here...)
So, without further delay -- because I know this is the only reason you are reading this -- let's get right to the excerpts:
Pubic Display of Affection
From Will by Christopher Rush
O glorious pubes! The ultimate triangle, whose angles delve to hell but point to paradise. Let me sing the black banner, the blackbird’s wing, the chink, the cleft, the keyhole in the door. The fig, the fanny, the cranny, the quim – I’d come close to it now, this sudden blush, this ancient avenue, the end of all odysseys and epic aim of life, pulling at my prick now, pulling like a lodestone.
Anne Hathaway’s cow-milking fingers, cradling my balls in her almond palm, now took pity on the poor anguished erection, and in the infinite agony of her desire, guided it to the quick of the wound. At the same time I searched wildly with the fingers of my left hand, groping blind as Cyclops, found the pulpy furred wetness, parted the old lips of time and slipped my middle finger into the sancta sanctorum. It welcomed me with soft sucking sounds, syllables older than language, solace lovelier than words. She pulled my hand away, positioned the prick, slid her buttocks deep into the grass, raised her thighs back high, crossed her legs behind my back, dug her heels into my spine and hauled at me savagely and hard. I fell into her.
You are the wind beneath my hand-job
From Boy Meets Girl by Ali Smith
Her hand opened me. Then her hand became a wing. Then everything about me became a wing, a single wing, and she was the other wing, we were a bird. We were a bird that could sing Mozart. … I was a she was a he was a we were a girl and a girl and a boy and a boy, we were blades, were a knife that could cut through myth, were two knives thrown by a magician, were arrows fired by a god, we hit heart, we hit home, we were the tail of a fish were the reek of a cat were the beak of a bird were the feather that mastered gravity were high above every landscape then down deep in the purple haze of the heather were roamin in a gloamin in a brash unending Scottish piece of perfect jigging reeling reel can we really keep this up?
Or maybe it's just acid reflux
From Clare Clark’s The Nature of Monsters
When at last he reached in to touch me, there was nothing else left, nothing in the world but his fingers and the delirious incoherent frenzy of pure sensation they sent spiralling through me, as though I were an instrument vibrating with the exquisite hymns of the angels. Did that make him an angel? My toes clenched in my boots and my belly held itself aloft in a moment of stillness as the flame quivered, perfectly bright. I held my breath. In the explosion I lost sight of myself. I was a million brilliant fragments, the darkness of my belly alive with stars. When at last I opened my eyes to look at him, my lashes shone with tears. He raised a finger to his lips and smiled.
Kinky...with a dash of chervil
From Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart
Her vagina was all that, as they say in the urban media – a powerful ethnic muscle scented by bitter melon, the breezes of the local sea, and the sweaty needs of a tiny nation trying to breed itself into a future. Was it especially hairy? Good Lord, yes it was. Mountains of kinkiness black as the night above the Serengeti with paprika shoots at the edges – the pubic hair alone must have clocked in at half a kilo, while providing the inspiration for two discernible trails of hair, one running up to the navel, the other to the base of the spine.
Do you fancy a shag? How about a cheap berber?
From Richard Milward’s Fantastic Apples
She had on no knickers, and my heart went crash-bang-wallop and my eyes popped out. She hadn’t shaved, and her fanny looked like a tropical fish or a bit of old carpet.
"So, you just gonna sit there?" Abi asked, and I laughed nervously. I was hardening up, but it was all a bit of a shock really. All I’d planned that night was listening to a selection of records and maybe some homework. I tried to go down on her, thinking back to the Razzle and how the boys did it in that. But my heart wasn’t into it – her cunt smelt a bit like an armpit, and when I pulled the lips open I knew I’d have to shut them numerous times or else I’ll die of Aids or I’d fall into it.
Klaatu barada niktu, baby...
From Jeanette Winterson’s The Stone Gods:
Why am I embarrassed about taking off my clothes in front of a robot? I pull the dress over my head like a schoolgirl, untie my hair, and sit down. She is smiling, just a little bit, as though she knows her effect.
To calm myself down and appear in control I reverse the problem. "Spike, you’re a robot, but why are you such a drop-dead gorgeous robot? I mean, is it necessary to be the most sophisticated machine ever built and to look like a movie star?"
She answers simply: "They thought I would be good for the boys on the mission."
"So you had sex with spacemen for three years?"
"Yes. I used up three silicon-lined vaginas."
Bad sex on the beach
From Quim Monzo’s The Enormity of the Tragedy
She felt the cylinder rod of his plunger. Tried to work up a precise rhythm. Felt the sand sticking to her knees through her trousers. She and Luis-Albert were all there was in the world; she swallowed him centimetre by centimetre (whenever a wave hit the beach) and then immediately let it go centimetre by centimetre (as each wave retreated).
With apologies to 'Bartholomew and the Oobleck'
From Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach.
Had she pulled on the wrong thing? Had she gripped too tight? He gave out a wail, a complicated series of agonised, rising vowels, the sort of sound she had heard once in a comedy film when a waiter, weaving this way and that, appeared to be about to drop a pile of towering soup plates.
In horror she let go, as Edward, rising up with a bewildered look, his muscular back arching in spasms, emptied himself over her in gouts, in vigorous but diminishing quantities, filling her navel, coating her belly, thighs, and even a portion of her chin and kneecap in tepid, viscous fluid.
And last but not least, our winner:
Norman...ooooooooooooh. Norman, my love
From Norman Mailer's The Castle in the Forest
"Are you all right?" she cried out as he lay beside her, his breath going in and out with a rasp that sounded as terrible as the last winds of their lost children.
"All right. Yes. No," he said. Then she was on him. She did not know if this would resuscitate him or end him, but the same spite, sharp as a needle, that had come to her after Fanni's death was in her again. Fanni had told her once what to do. So Klara turned head to foot, and put her most unmentionable part down on his hard-breathing nose and mouth, and took his old battering ram into her lips. Uncle was now as soft as a coil of excrement. She sucked on him nonetheless with an avidity that could come only from the Evil One - that she knew. From there, the impulse had come. So now they both had their heads at the wrong end, and the Evil One was there. He had never been so close before.
The Hound began to come to life. Right in her mouth. It surprised her. Alois had been so limp. But now he was a man again! His mouth lathered with her sap, he turned around and embraced her face with all the passion of his own lips and face, ready at last to grind into her with the Hound, drive it into her piety.