Sam Kitchener

Queer Theorising

In One Person


Doubleday 427pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

There is only so much anal sex a man can take. Likewise, areolae, penis inclines, vaginas, and intercrural frotting. I don’t mean to be a prude. Any subject is fair game for fiction; besides, John Irving’s In One Person shouldn’t trouble this publication’s Bad Sex Award. Although his interest in sexual organs is insistent, his treatment of what they’re used for is mercifully brief and, to borrow the apologia of genteel perverts everywhere, ‘tastefully done’:

I had never penetrated anyone, and when I felt this most amazing friction, of course, this felt like penetration to me. There was a slippery sensation – there was absolutely no pain, yet my penis had never been so tightly gripped – and when I ejaculated, I cried against her small, soft breasts.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • The author 'seethes with contemptuous indignation at the shiny junk that an unregulated construction industry dumps… ,
    • 'The physical courage he demonstrated as a young man [...] gave way to intellectual power; radical thought, gifted… ,
    • 'While Jane Austen didn’t perhaps achieve the full recognition that she deserved in her lifetime, even then she out… ,
    • 'All I have is a voice To undo the folded lie, The romantic lie in the brain Of the sensual man-in-the-street And t… ,
    • 'You are interested in a particular subject; basic research hardens this interest into an obsession, after which th… ,
    • 'Keynes predicted that future generations would enjoy such an improved standard of living that they might work just… ,
    • 'Various dislocations ... emerge, iceberg-like, out of a troubled sea of unconscious motivation and confront Eisenb… ,