The OF Blog: A Hump Day Sex Scene Quote

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Hump Day Sex Scene Quote

Taken from Nadine Gordimer's 1970 novel, A Guest of Honour:

It was all understood, between them. He undressed her and took her to his bed in that bare, male room which he had never shared with a woman; at once a schoolboy's room and a lonely old man's room, the room left behind him and the room somewhere ahead of him in his life. But the narrow bed was full again, he was full again, and it was all there, the body that had run shaking into the water, the big legs shuddering, the breasts swaying. This time he saw every part of it, watched the nipples turn to dark marbles rolling in his fingers, found the thin, shining skin with a vein like an underground stream running beneath it, where the springy soft hair ended and the rise of the thigh began, had revealed to him the aureole of mauve-brown skin where the cheeks of the backside divided at the end of her spine. All this and more, before he hung above her on his knees and she said with her practical parenthesis, "It's all right" (knowing how to look after herself, trusted not to make any trouble) and she reached up under his body and took the whole business, the heavy bunch of sex, in her hands, expressing the strangeness, the marvel of otherness, between the two bodies, and then he entered all that he had looked on, and burst the bounds of his body, in hers (p. 238)



Chad Hull said...

explicitly subtle

Bill said...

Kind of dull. It's framed in mechanics and his perception of what feels like a mildly guilt-ridden indulgence.

The context makes it appear inevitable, but there's more duty than passion. There's a disconnected observation to the physical attributes, no loving or enamorate terminology.

He may as well have been schtooping a painting.

I am not familiar with the story, I'm afraid, so perhaps this scene suited the characters. Perhaps the anticipation had already been built up, the romantic/other dialogue already exchanged, leading up to this point.

The prose itself was descriptively fine (body parts and all), but it lacked passion, by which to engage the reader in the character's adventure.

Which leads me to guess, without knowing the context, 'why bother?'

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