Jonathan Littell has won the seventeenth annual Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award, for The Kindly Ones (Chatto & Windus). The prize (a plaster foot) was presented by award-winning actor Charles Dance. It was accepted on Littell's behalf by his editor at Chatto & Windus, Alison Samuel.
The awards were announced at a lavish ceremony on Monday 30th November 2009, at the In & Out (Naval & Military) Club in St James's Square, where the 400 guests raised a toast to the winner.
The Kindly Ones, originally published in French, won the Prix Goncourt in 2006. It has sold over a million copies in Europe.
The judges used the occasion to praise an ambitious and impressive novel. They said: 'It is in part a work of genius. However, a mythologically inspired passage and lines such as "I came suddenly, a jolt that emptied my head like a spoon scraping the inside of a soft-boiled egg" clinched the award for The Kindly Ones. We hope he takes it in good humour.'
Jonathan Littell was unavailable for comment. The winning passage is quoted below:
Her vulva was opposite my face. The small lips protruded slightly from the pale, domed flesh. This sex was watching at me, spying on me, like a Gorgon's head, like a motionless Cyclops whose single eye never blinks. Little by little this silent gaze penetrated me to the marrow. My breath sped up and I stretched out my hand to hide it: I no longer saw it, but it still saw me and stripped me bare (whereas I was already naked). If only I could still get hard, I thought, I could use my prick like a stake hardened in the fire, and blind this Polyphemus who made me Nobody. But my cock remained inert, I seemed turned to stone. I stretched out my arm and buried my middle finger into this boundless eye. The hips moved slightly, but that was all. Far from piercing it, I had on the contrary opened it wide, freeing the gaze of the eye still hiding behind it. Then I had an idea: I took out my finger and, dragging myself forward on my forearms, I pushed my forehead against this vulva, pressing my scar against the hole. Now I was the one looking inside, searching the depths of this body with my radiant third eye, as her own single eye irradiated me and we blinded each other mutually: without moving, I came in an immense splash of white light, as she cried out: 'What are you doing, what are you doing?' and I laughed out loud, sperm still gushing in huge spurts from my penis, jubilant, I bit deep into her vulva to swallow it whole, and my eyes finally opened, cleared, and saw everything.
I don't know aqbout you, but this is a little scary to me. LOL
This was borrowed from the Literary Review: