I've received quite a lot of emails, etc., asking me to identify the awful book. Not gonna do it.
I've also received a lot of guesses about its title. None of them have been right.
In case you have a book in mind and are wondering if it was the one I ranted over, here's a handy little test.
Did it have waves crashing on the beach during a moment of sexual liberation? Actual waves. Actual beach.
That's it. That's your test.
And now the oldtimey romance writers will join me in being appalled. We're the ones who remember when "waves crashing on a beach" was a shorthand insult of the romance genre. Back in those days, romance writers were chided for writing about sexual relationships in a coyly disguised manner. We were teased for using euphemisms -- waves crashing on a beach -- to describe sexual feelings. When book reviewers wanted to get their snark on, they would talk about the waves and the beach as a way of implying that the writing quality was poor and the writing was unobservant and cliched.
My, how things have changed. Now it's the ones who talk about sex with any frankness who are chided and even scorned.
So we have this book that's flatly literary, dressed up like commercial fiction, and borrowing a metaphor used to scorn genre.
And that wasn't even the worst of it. That was just the part that made me feel safe in ranting about it.