Jonathan Franzen In Running for Bad Sex Award

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Joe Kohen/Getty Images for The New Yorker

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 16: Writer Jonathan Franzen attends The 2009 New Yorker Festival: Fiction Night at Cedar Lake on October 16, 2009 in New York City.

Great American Novelist. Terrible when it comes to writing about doing the nasty.

Jonathan Franzen has been lavished with praise — and if TIME says he’s good, he must be — so NewsFeed was ever so slightly disappointed to learn that he’s been nominated for the tongue-in-cheek prize, dished out by the Literary Review for — ahem — the most embarrassing passage of sexual description in a novel.

(See what’s on Franzen’s bookshelf.)

Freedom, which is ostensibly about the breakdown of an American family, was singled out by judges for a depiction of a “phone sex” encounter. This isn’t so much a spoiler alert as a squeamish alert as you may not wish to read on (NewsFeed won’t be offended).

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.

What’s more, Franzen shows a “propensity for innuendo which comes over a bit Benny Hill.” Organizers wanted to ”draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it.” No worries on that front, Literary Review, you’ve done it.

(See the top 10 books you were forced to read in school.)

The winner will be announced on November 29 at the Naval and Military Club in St James’s Square, London. And if Franzen can’t make it, NewsFeed will happily attend in his absence, as we’re already mentally undressing the award and licking our lips at the prospect of his winning. (Via the Daily Telegraph)

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