Indian-American mathematician and author Manil Suri has won the least sought-after prize in the literary world, the ‘Bad Sex in Fiction Award’, which ‘honours’ the most embarrassing erotic scenes in novels.
The prize - awarded by the Literary Review - was announced at a ceremony in London on Tuesday night by British author Joan Collins, the novelist famed for often over-the-top love scenes in her innumerable romances.
The scene that won over judges is part of Mumbai-born Suri's latest novel, 'The City of Devi', which follows housewife Sarita and her friend Jaz, a young gay Muslim, as they go in search of Sarita’s husband in a city on the brink of nuclear annihilation.
The scene involves all three characters and reaches an ‘other-wordly’ climax that mere mortals can only dream of: "Surely supernovas explode that instant, somewhere, in some galaxy. The hut vanishes, and with it the sea and the sands – only Karun’s body, locked with mine, remains. We streak like superheroes past suns and solar systems, we dive through shoals of quarks and atomic nuclei. In celebration of our breakthrough fourth star, statisticians the world over rejoice."
Suri’s publisher Bloomsbury sprang to the author’s defence, and said in a statement that the Times Literary Supplement had praised the book's love scenes as “unfettered, quirky, beautiful, trajic and wildly experimental”.
“In accepting this award we challenge everyone to make up their own mind about Manil Suri’s The City of Devi. As Tolstoy said in Anna Karenina, 'There are as many kinds of love as there are hearts'", the statement added.
The City of Devi is Suri’s third novel, after ‘The Death of Vishnu’, which was long-listed for the 2001 Booker Prize and ‘The Age of Shiva’ (2008).
When not writing Hindu mythology-inspired fiction, Suri works as a mathematics professor at the University of Maryland.
Suri beat off several strong contenders for the award, including a scene from Susan Choi’s ‘My Education’ ("I seemed to come right away, with a hard, popping effervescence, as if her mouth had raised blisters, or an uppermost froth; but beneath, magma still heaved and groaned and was yearning to fling itself into the air") and this nugget from Eric Reinhardt’s ‘The Victoria System: "The zip of her skirt sputtered between her fingernails like a motorboat on a waveless sea … My erection beat time in my underwear."BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS