LONDON — American author David Guterson on Tuesday joined John Updike, Tom Wolfe, Norman Mailer and other literary stars as the recipient of the dreaded Bad Sex in Fiction award.
Guterson won the 2011 "prize" for sex scenes in his new novel "Ed King," which offers a modern take on the Oedipus myth and sets it in the second half of the 20th century.
The acclaimed author of "Snow Falling on Cedars" took the tongue-in-cheek honor in stride: "Oedipus practically invented bad sex, so I'm not in the least bit surprised," Guterson said in a statement released in response to his victory.
The choice was announced at a gala event at the Naval & Military Club in London.
The scene cited by the judges deals with the part of the myth where the son makes loves with his mother. It describes a night of abandon that concludes with a soapy shower interlude and finishes this way: "Then they rinsed, dried, dressed, and went to an expensive restaurant for lunch."
The Literary Review has given out the award each year since 1993. It was established by Auberon Waugh to highlight the "crude, tasteless and often perfunctory" way in which sex is described in modern novels — and to discourage it.
The list of finalists this year included Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami, Sebastian Barry, James Frey, Peter Nadas, American horror master Stephen King, Jean M. Auel, and several others.
In the past it has been given to Mailer — for one of his final works, "The Castle in the Forest" — and a lifetime achievement award was given in 2008 to novelist, poet and critic John Updike, whose works often explored the pleasure and pain of adultery in the suburbs.
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