It’s awards season, which means it’s time once again to celebrate the most unappealing depictions of coitus the written word has to offer. That’s right, after much deliberation, the British Literary Review has chosen Nancy Huston’s Infrared—a novel about a photographer who takes infrared shots of her bedtime companions—as an exemplar of the best way to make people reconsider an activity generally thought to represent the beautiful joining of two bodies (or at the very least a good time). Huston writes:

He runs his tongue and lips over my breasts, the back of my neck, my toes, my stomach, the countless treasures between my legs, oh the sheer ecstasy of lips and tongues on genitals, either simultaneously or in alternation, never will I tire of that silvery fluidity, my sex swimming in joy like a fish in water, my self freed of both self and other, the quivering sensation, the carnal pink palpitation that detaches you from all colour and all flesh, making you see only stars, constellations, milky ways, propelling you bodiless and soulless into undulating space where the undulating skies make your non-body undulate…


Notice how Huston’s phrasing—“carnal pink palpitation,” for example—utilizes stylistic devices like weirdly inappropriate alliteration and unpleasant imagery to really repel the reader from the text. Other contenders for the prize this year included Tom Wolfe’s Back To Blood and Ben Masters’ Noughties. [via The Paris Review]