Ladies and Gentlemen, Your 2009 Bad Sex in Fiction Shortlistees

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11/18/2009 12:59 PM |

The god Pan looking on from a distance with his spying, lascivious gaze.
  • The god Pan looking on from a distance with his spying, lascivious gaze.

London’s Literary Review has announced the shortlist for this year’s Bad Sex in Fiction Award. Philip Roth, who following the death of John Updike must now surely be America’s most hopelessly priapic writer, is on the list, for his new novel The Humbling, in which a blocked actor begins an affair with a dildo-wielding lesbian.

The rest of the shortlist:

Paul Theroux, A Dead Hand
Nick Cave, The Death of Bunny Munro
Philip Roth, The Humbling
Jonathan Littell, The Kindly Ones
Amos Oz, Rhyming Life and Death
John Banville, The Infinities
Anthony Quinn, The Rescue Man
Simon Van Booy, Love Begins in Winter
Sanjida O’Connell, The Naked Name of Love
Richard Milward, Ten Storey Love Song

Some hot girl-on-girl action with Philip Roth, after the jump…

The Literary Review singles out this scene from The Humbling:

This was not soft porn. This was no longer two unclothed women caressing and kissing on a bed. There was something primitive about it now, this woman-on-woman violence, as though in the room filled with shadows, Pegeen were a magical composite of shaman, acrobat, and animal. It was as if she were wearing a mask on her genitals, a weird totem mask, that made her into what she was not and was not supposed to be. There was something dangerous about it. His heart thumped with excitement — the god Pan looking on from a distance with his spying, lascivious gaze.

Excerpts from the other nominees are surprisingly unavailable, unless you want to read the 2006 shortlist (the Literary Review apparently hates the internet, which I sympathize with right up until the part where I miss out on the inside jokes and amusements of the British literary world), but this is a notably high-profile list this year.

Earlier this year, we posted a video of Cave reading from Bunny Munro; reviewing Love Begins in Winter earlier this year, the L’s Nate Brown was curiously silent on the subject of terrible sex writing.

The winners will be announced on the 30th of the month. Last year’s award was won by Rachel Johnson, though it was overshadowed by the (incredibly deserved) lifetime achievement award given to John Updike—the last major honor Updike received.