Bad Sex in Fiction finalists include Haruki Murakami


Haruki Murakami’s “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage” was one of the most hotly anticipated novels of the year. Now it’s in the running for the most dreaded prize in fiction.

The Bad Sex in Fiction Award was created by the British magazine Literary Review to recognize truly awful writing about sex in fiction, usually novels. Past winners include Tom Wolfe, Jonathan Littell, Sebastian Faulks and John Updike.

It’s not hard to find terrible writing about sex in fiction, even among the most literary authors. Finalist passages in 2014 include these excerpts cited by The Guardian.


“He kissed the slight, rose-coloured trench that remained from her knicker elastic, running around her belly like the equator line circling the world. As they lost themselves in the circumnavigation of each other, there came from nearby shrill shrieks that ended in a deeper howl,” writes Richard Flanagan in his Man Booker prize-winning “The Narrow Road to the Deep North.” “Dorrigo looked up. A large dog stood at the top of the dune. Above blood-jagged drool, its slobbery mouth clutched a twitching fairy penguin.”

In Haruki Murakami’s “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage,” the male protagonist has a threesome with two young women that describes pubic hair “as wet as a rain forest.”

Another finalist is Wilbur Smith’s “Desert God,” in which a woman’s knee-length “glowing” hair “did not cover her breasts which thrust their way through it like living creatures. They were perfect rounds, white as mare’s milk and tipped with ruby nipples that puckered as my gaze passed over them.”

Other finalists are Saskia Goldschmidt’s “The Hormone Factory,” Amy Grace Loyd’s “The Affairs of Others,” Ben Okri’s “The Age of Magic,” May-Lan Tan’s “Things to Make and Break,” Helen Walsh’s “The Lemon Grove” and “The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle” by Kristy Wark.

The winner will be announced Dec. 3.

Book news and more; I’m @paperhaus on Twitter