Every year, the Literary Review gives out a “Bad Sex in Literature Award.” And this year, novelist Jonathan Franzen — who has had the literary world squealing like tweens at a Justin Bieber concert over his work — is up for the dubious honor. The award is given to the writer guilty of writing the “most embarrassing passage of sexual description in a novel.” (The winner will be announced on November 29.)
Here’s what Franzen was nominated for, a passage about phone sex in his novel Freedom:
One afternoon, as Connie described it, her excited clitoris grew to be eight inches long, a protruding pencil of tenderness with which she gently parted the lips of his penis and drove herself down to the base of its shaft. Another day, at her urging, Joey described to her the sleek warm neatness of her turds as they slid from her anus and fell into his open mouth, where, since these were only words, they tasted like excellent dark chocolate...
“Protruding pencil of tenderness”? Oy. “Sleek warm neatness of her turds”? Oh please. This is truly terrible. Which is to say that this seems like one helluva contender, sez us. (Well, sez we, but us sounds better.) USA! USA!