Wednesday, December 7, 2011

1Q84: Bad Sex Award

This year, 1Q84 was shortlisted for a dubious honor: The Literary Review's Bad Sex Award. 

Now, there's plenty of sex in 1Q84, but it was one particular scene that got the Review's attention.  To avoid spoilers, I won't say which characters it involved, but it included such lines as:
A freshly made ear and a freshly made vagina look very much alike, [he] thought. Both appeared to be turned outward, trying to listen closely to something – something like a distant bell.
Of course, the overall weirdness of this scene was certainly intentional.  But it does come across as rather unfortunate when taken out of context.  (And I'm sure the same might be said for the other nominees as well.)

In any case, Murakami need not worry about picking up the trophy.  The ultimate winner was David Guterson, for Ed King and its re-telling of the ultimate bad sex experience, Oedipus Rex.


  1. I just got to that point in the novel and it makes much more sense in context. The man in the scene can't actually move, either, and it isn't as much sex as bizarre ritual. I'd deem it ineligible for the bad sex award by context!

  2. i had a thought in my mind as i read 1Q84 that was echoed in the times review of the book: that the sex scenes read like a script of the typical male-fantasy porn movie.

    context explains some of the strangeness of this scene, for sure, but, on a whole, i found the sex to be one of the least believable things in a very fantastical novel.