Stop us if you think you’ve heard this one before: Morrissey, the English musician turned novelist, is apparently not great at writing about sex.
The former Smiths frontman is one of eight writers in the running for the Bad Sex in Fiction Award, the annual dubious honor given by the Literary Review to “an author who has produced an outstandingly bad scene of sexual description in an otherwise good novel.”
The “good novel” part might be a bit of a stretch — Morrissey’s debut work of fiction, “List of the Lost,” was almost universally panned by critics. This might have been for passages like this one, excerpted in the Guardian: “Eliza and Ezra rolled together into the one giggling snowball of full-figured copulation.”
In the New Republic, Alex Shephard predicts that “Morrissey is going to win this year’s bad sex in fiction award,” pointing to a section of the novel that details “a dangerous and clamorous rollercoaster coil of sexually violent rotation” and describes a certain part of the male anatomy as a “bulbous salutation.”
The singer has some distinguished competition. Other nominees this year include critically acclaimed authors Richard Bausch, Joshua Cohen, Aleksandar Hemon, George Pelecanos and Lauren Groff, whose “Fates and Furies” is a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award for fiction.
Also making the list is Erica Jong, author of the legendarily sexy novel “Fear of Flying,” whose new novel “Fear of Dying” was named for, presumably, lines like this one quoted by the Guardian: “Kundalini, schmundalini, it’s great stuff.” (This sentence makes a little more sense in context, but not much.)
The Bad Sex in Fiction Award has been given out annually since 1993. Previous winners have included Sebastian Faulks, Tom Wolfe and Norman Mailer, who was given the honor posthumously for an unprintable, and very bad, passage from his novel “The Castle in the Forest.”
This year’s winner will be named Dec. 1, in a London club called — we promise this is true — the In and Out.