London (AP) — A cringe-inducing passage which compares a sexual encounter to battle with an one-eyed mythological monster was awarded Britain's Bad Sex in Fiction Prize on Monday.
I thought "battling with Cyclops" was a euphemism for masturbation?
The editors of the Literary Review magazine said best-selling American author Jonathan Littell won the prize for describing a sex act as "a jolt that emptied my head like a spoon scraping the inside of a soft-boiled egg."
"I was so hard my blood boiled and the juice ran down my egg... The sex was not all it was cracked up to be, after I came out of my shell. When it was over, I just felt fried. I guess the yolk was on me."
The offending passage compared female genitalia to various Greek fiends, including the mythical monster Gorgon and "a motionless Cyclops whose single eye never blinks."
Which orifice is the Scylla and which is the Charybdis?
Littell beat other shortlisted authors including Paul Theroux and John Banville to the prize, which celebrates crude or ridiculous descriptions of sex in modern literature.
Perhaps if they had actually had sex, they might have been able to do a better job writing about it.
Littell's book The Kindly Ones is a 900-page epic narrated by a fictional Nazi officer. Originally published in French, the international best-seller won France's top literary honor, the Goncourt Prize, in 2006.
So it's about the French being screwed by the Germans? I withdraw my previous comment; this is something with which they should have a lot of experience…
Last year, the magazine gave the annual prize to British writer Rachel Johnson for a passage in her satirical novel Shire Hell. John Updike was awarded a lifetime achievement award after he had been shortlisted for the prize four times in its 17-year history.
John Updike is the only one of the authors listed whose work I've ever read (The Witches of Eastwick). Of course, given that he published a collection of poems in 1974 named Cunts: Upon Receiving The Swingers Life Club Membership Solicitation, I suppose it was inevitable that he would win an award like this sooner or later.
Literary Review said Littell's editor accepted the prize, but the author himself was not available for comment.
Rachel Johnson considers her 2008 Bad Sex in Fiction Prize an "absolute honour".