Guterson said he "couldn't attend" the award ceremony at London's In & Out Club (those Brits, so cheeky!), and I can't say I blame him. Would any of us be all that eager to attend a large, media-filled ceremony held for the sole purpose of mocking your sexual writing? It surely didn't help that it was announced with coy headlines like "David Guterson Comes First in..." and "'Ed King' Beats Off Competition to Win..."
On his win for his fifth novel, Ed King, Guterson said: "Oedipus practically invented bad sex, so I'm not in the least bit surprised." He sounds all crisp and British--"I'm not in the least bit surprised"--but is clearly trying to pretend that he, like, wanted to win. Later, however, I suspect he dissolved into a pile of tears and spent the rest of the day masturbating joylessly to his unappreciated sex scenes. Which, it is my duty to inform you, included some icky mother-son gettin' it on, aka "mother fucking," in such passages as:
"She took him by the wrist and moved the base of his hand into her pubic hair until his middle fingertip settled on the no-man's-land between her 'front parlour' and 'back door' (those were the quaint, prudish terms of her girlhood)".
"In the shower, Ed stood with his hands at the back of his head, like someone just arrested, while she abused him with a bar of soap. After a while he shut his eyes, and Diane, wielding her fingernails now and staring at his face, helped him out with two practiced hands, one squeezing the family jewels, the other vigorous with the soap-and-warm-water treatment. It didn't take long for the beautiful and perfect Ed King to ejaculate for the fifth time in twelve hours, while looking like Roman public-bath statuary. Then they rinsed, dried, dressed, and went to an expensive restaurant for lunch."
The last passage crams so much badness into such a small space that it's masterly in its own way. Not only does it lack sexiness, but it's littered with phrases that seem actively sex-repellent. I mean "abused him with a bar of soap," "wielding her fingernails," "family jewels"? Then that last sentence, about the drying and lunch eating, WTF is that?
Award-winning American writing is what the fuck it is. And don't let anyone tell you any different.
In the meantime, anyone who utters the phrase "family jewels" to me is So Not Getting Any, so don't even try.