Morrisey, Lauren Groff, and Erica Jong Among Finalists for 2015 Bad Sex in Fiction Award

It’s that time of the year again, when British magazine Literary Review do their best “to draw attention to poorly written, perfunctory or redundant passages of sexual description in modern fiction, and to discourage them.” The award has been around for 23 years, and past winners include Norman Mailer, Tom Wolfe, and John Updike (who won the Bad Sex in Fiction lifetime achievement award).

This year marks the first time a book published by the distinguished Penguin Classics makes the list, namely Morrisey’s List of the Lost, which judge Frank Brinkley claims is “a very strong contender.” The book was thoroughly mocked when it came out earlier this fall, with critics paying special attention to its sex scenes. Who can blame them with excerpts like this:

Eliza and Ezra rolled together into one giggling snowball of full-figured copulation …with Eliza’s breasts barrel-rolled across Ezra’s howling mouth and the pained frenzy of his bulbous salutation extenuating his excitement as it whacked and smacked its way into every muscle of Eliza’s body except for the otherwise central zone.

Other candidates for this year’s award include Before, During, After by Richard Bausch, Book of Numbers by Joshua Cohen, Against Nature by Tomas Espedal, Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff, The Making of Zombie Wars by Aleksandar Hemon, Fear of Dying by Erica Jong, and The Martini Shot by George Pelecanos.

Literary Review said this about the candidates: “The books in question demonstrate the rude health of modern fiction.” One book that didn’t make the list was Michael Ashcroft and Isabel Oakeshott’s Call Me Dave, which included a description of the British Prime Minister’s famed sexual interaction with an animal. The judges reported with regret thatthe biographers displayed insufficient literary brio to merit serious consideration.” In other words, the passage was too bad for the Bad Sex Awards. The winner of this year’s award will be announced on December 1.

Below are excerpts from some of this year’s candidates. Excerpts from all of the candidates may be found here. If you can handle it, check out more bad sex quotes at Literary Review’s Twitter account.

Before, During, After by Richard Bausch:

She reached up and brought him to her, then rolled over on top of him and began softly to move down. When she took him, still a little flaccid, into her mouth, he moaned, ‘Oh, lover.’

Against Nature by Thomas Espedal

Héloïse has lost all sense of how she ought to behave, she practically throws herself at Abélard, pulls him to the floor and straddles him as if they’re two boys fighting. … She whips his face with her hair. She rides above him the way she’d imagined that one day she’d ride a boy, a man, a beast…

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

He shut his eyes and thought of mangoes, split papayas, fruits tart and sweet and dripping with juice, and then it was off, and he groaned and his whole body turned sweet …

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