There are few literary awards that authors are less excited or grateful to be nominated for than the annual Bad Sex Awards, the Literary Review’s tongue-in-cheek ode to the most cringe-worthy depictions of the nasty in the past twelve months of fiction. While the ultimate winner of the 2014 prize probably won’t be rushing to put their plaster foot trophy on the mantelpiece, they can at least take pride in being amongst such illustrious company, as past winners include Melvin Bragg, A.A. Gill and Tom Wolfe. Sadly, none of this year’s shortlist (which includes Haruki Murakami, Michael Cunningham and the most recent Man Booker Prize winner Richard Flanagan) are especially heinous, although Flanagan’s attempt includes the sexual deed being interrupted by a dog eating a penguin. We’ve waded through the bad metaphors, questionable word choices and unnerving descriptions of bodily fluids to bring you the absolute worst (and funniest) nominees of the award. Seriously, don’t read this at work. We did warn you.
I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe.
“Hoyt began moving his lips as if he were trying to suck the ice cream off the top of a cone without using his teeth … Slither slither slither slither went the tongue, but the hand that was what she tried to concentrate on, the hand, since it has the entire terrain of her torso to explore and not just the otorhinolaryngological caverns …
Oh God, it was not just at the border where the flesh of the breast joins the pectoral sheath of the chest no, the hand was cupping her entire right – Now! She must say ‘No, Hoyt’ and talk to him like a dog… ”
The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell.
“Una had stretched out on the bed of the guillotine; I lifted the lunette, made her put her head through it, and closed it on her long neck, after carefully lifting her heavy hair. She was panting. I tied her hands behind her back with my belt, then raised her skirt. I didn’t even bother to lower her panties, just pushed the lace to one side and spread her buttocks with both hands: in the slit, nestling in hair, her anus gently contracted. I spit on it. ‘No,’ she protested. I took out my penis, lay on top of her, and thrust it in. She gave a long stifled cry. I was crushing her with all my weight; because of the awkward position – my trousers were hindering my legs – I could only move in little jerks. Leaning over the lunette, my own neck beneath the blade, I whispered to her: ‘I’m going to pull the lever, I’m going to let the blade drop.’ She begged me: ‘Please, fuck my pussy.’ – ‘No.’ I came suddenly, a jolt that emptied my head like a spoon scraping the inside of a soft-boiled egg.”
The City of Devi by Manil Suri.
“Surely supernovas explode that instant, somewhere, in some galaxy. The hut vanishes, and with it the sea and the sands – only Karun’s body, locked with mine, remains. We streak like superheroes past suns and solar systems, we dive through shoals of quarks and atomic nuclei. In celebration of our breakthrough fourth star, statisticians the world over rejoice.”
The Last Banquet by Jonathan Grimwood.
“Reaching behind me, I found the Brie and broke off a fragment, sucking her nipple through it. She tasted almost as she had the day I took the drop of milk on my finger.
Manon smiled when she realised what I was doing.
You know the peasant saying? If you can’t imagine how neighbouring vineyards can produce such different wines put one finger in your woman’s quim and another up her arse, then taste both and stop asking stupid questions… My fingers found both vineyards. At the front, she tasted salt as anchovy and as delicious. At the rear, bitter like chocolate and smelling strangely of tobacco.”
The Quiddity of Will Self by Sam Mills.
“ … oh, yes, oh, yes, oh, Will, oh, yes, oh, semen-bedizened blood-pusillanimous bed onanistic quiddity fulcrating pelvic thrusts smoke thick typewriter’s click-clack-click Will Our Cock is Spent screaming loving Will is pleased Will is Saved I have done it I have done I am the Chosen One I am his Chosen One oh Will for ever I am yours for ever I am yours for ever I am.”
The Shape of Her by Rowan Somerville.
“He grasped the side of her hips, pushed her away and pulled her to him with a slap. Again and again with more force and velocity. Tine pressed her face deeper into the cushion grunting into the foam at each thrust.
The wet friction of her, tight around him, the sight of her open, stretched around him, the cleft of her body, it tore a climax out of him with a final lunge. Like a lepidopterist mounting a tough-skinned insect with a too blunt pin he screwed himself into her.”
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.”
Black Swan Green by David Mitchell.
“If Dawn Madden’s breasts were a pair of Danishes, Debby Crombie’s got two Space Hoppers. Each armed with a gribbly nipple. Tom Yew kissed them in turn and his saliva glistened in the April sun. I know watching was wrong but I couldn’t not. Tom Yew slipped off her red panties and stroked the cressy hair there.
‘If you want me to stop, Madam Crombie, you have to say now.’
‘Oooh, Master Yew,’ she croodled, ‘don’t you dare.’
Tom Yew got on her and sort of jiggled there and she gasped like he was giving her a Chinese burn and wrapped her legs round him, froggily. Now he moved up and down, Man-from Atlantisly. His silver chain jiggled on his neck.
Now her grubby soles met like they were praying.
Now his skin was glazed in roast pork sweat.
Now she made a noise like a tortured Moomintroll.
Now Tom Yew’s body jerkjerked judderily jackknifed and a noise like a ripping cable tore out of him. Once more, like he’d been booted in the balls.
Her fingernails’d sunk salmony welts into his arse.
Debby Crombie’s mouth made a perfect O.”