When David Cameron wrote that one of the lessons of Tony Blair’s memoirs was that “politicians should keep quiet about their animal instincts”, I found myself in rare agreement.
For those of you yet to enjoy (or endure) Blair’s prose, here is the offending passage:
[T]hat night she (Cherie Blair) cradled me in her arms and soothed me; told me what I needed to be told; strengthened me; made me feel that I was about to do was right … On that night of the 12th May, 1994, I needed that love Cherie gave me, selfishly. I devoured it to give me strength. I was an animal following my instinct, knowing I would need every ounce of emotional power to cope with what lay ahead. I was exhilarated, afraid and determined in roughly equal quantities.
Blair’s efforts have earned him a nomination for the Literary Review’s annual Bad Sex Award — the first time a work of non-fiction has made the cut. Other nominees for the prize, which celebrates “poorly written, redundant or crude passages of a sexual nature”, include Ian McEwan for Solar, Jonathan Franzen for Freedom and Martin Amis for The Pregnant Widow: “Keith imagined her buttocks as a pair of giant testicles (from L. testiculus, lit. ‘a witness’ — a witness to virility), not oval, but perfectly round.”
Last year’s award went to Jonathan Littell’s The Kindly Ones for such cringe-making lines as: “I came suddenly, a jolt that emptied my head like a spoon scraping the inside of a soft-boiled egg”.