Best sex in fiction: you pick

Jackie Corley has drawn my attention to Nerve.com’s new Henry Miller Award, established in honor of the 20th Century writer who made his name with frank portrayals of sex in books like Tropic of Cancer.

Each month Nerve’s readers will decide between five passages, pre-selected by staffers from recently released books, that present “honest literary sex scenes capable of ‘resuscitating the body and soul.'”

At the year’s end, a panel of judges will pick the final award winner, who will receive $1,934 (the publication date of Miller’s Tropic of Cancer).

This month’s nominees include two books I’ve reviewed for Newsday:

  • Milk by Darcey Steinke (a brittle disappointment, in my view, after Steinke’s Suicide Blonde, although Virginia Heffernan embraced it wholeheartedly. The passage up at Nerve is pretty good, one of the best the book has to offer, but when has “the first bit of come” ever been “green”? If it is, a quick trip to the VD clinic may be in order).

The three remaining options are:


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