- 30 Nov 18
He's not best pleased with the "sniggering mutual masturbators of the Literary Review"
Julian Gough has responded with trademark barb to a three-and-a-half page scene from his novel Connect being shortlisted for the Literary Review’s Bad Sex Award in Fiction.
“I am delighted to have been shortlisted, particularly alongside the great Haruki Murakami, and I hope to win,” he counters. “For years now, some of the best and most interesting writing about sex has been shortlisted annually by the sniggering mutual masturbators of the Literary Review. It would be a huge honour to join such former winners as John Updike, Tom Wolfe, and Ben Okri.”
The Galwegian writer is going, er, head to head with Major Victor Cornwall & Major Arthur St John Trevelyan’s Scoundrels: The Hunt For Hansclapp; James Frey’s Katerina; Luke Tredget’s Kismet; William Wall’s Grace’s Day; Gerard Woodward’s The Paper Lovers; and the aforementioned Haruki Murakami’s Killing Commendatore.
The passage from Gough's futuristic thriller reads: "He drops the bra to the floor, looks up, into her eyes, it’s too much. He kisses her chin, her mouth, and their tongues touch, oh, too much, he slips his lips free with a soft suck. Moves up to kiss her strong nose, on one side, then the other, it’s hard and soft at once. He moves back down, till he is level with her breasts.
‘They’re small,’ she says, surprisingly shy, apologetic.
‘They’re perfect,’ he says.
He kisses them. Teases a nipple with his lips. It’s so soft; and then, suddenly, hard.
He sucks on the hard nipple.
He has never done this before, and yet; no, wait, of course, it is totally familiar.
The first thing he ever did.
He feels the huge change in meaning, in status; it is as though he had grown up in a single suck. Everything transformed. And yet nothing has changed at all; he sucks at a nipple as he lies on a bed, and it’s eighteen years later, and he sucks at a nipple as he lies on a bed, and his childhood falls away from him like a burned-out booster stage from a rocket. Its fuel used up. He is now in orbit around a different planet."
Adds Gough in a Twitter post: "No sex scene, in isolation, can really make much sense. If you don't know the characters, there can be no resonance."