Franco-American author Jonathan Littell has won the Bad Sex In Fiction Award for a book that had previously scooped France’s top literary award.
“The Kindly Ones”, a World War II saga originally published in French under the title “Les Bienveillantes”, won the Prix Goncourt in 2006 but it was only translated into English this year.
Judges at the London-based Literary Review magazine awarded Littell the tongue-in-cheek award on Monday for prose describing sex as “a jolt that emptied my head like a spoon scraping the inside of a soft-boiled egg.”
He emerged victorious from a field including literary heavyweights Philip Roth (“The Humbling”), Paul Theroux (“A Dead Hand”) and rock star Nick Cave (“The Death of Bunny Munro”).
Cave described nipples which were “the size and texture of liquorice Jelly Spogs” and at one point a character in the book pleads with her partner to “pray, pray at my portal.”
In Roth’s work, one character “appoints herself ringmaster and would not participate until summoned.”
The Literary Review noted that both Littell and Roth incorporated mythology into their sex scenes — the winner used images of “a Gorgon’s head” and “a motionless Cyclops.” …
It’s hard to miss the misogyny in those authors’ works. A negative view of women leads to bad sex writing, as well as bad sex generally.