Nowhere is this more true than in this year’s winning text, James Frey’s Katerina. Given Frey’s rapacious appetite for soul-grinding repetition, quoting Katerina here seems besides the point; if you want to know what the book is like, just interpolate the words “fuck” and “cum” with random nouns. In what I believe is a very genuine attempt to express deep truths about a young person’s heady experience of powerful sexual connection while traveling abroad, Frey is not only cloddishly puerile but even worse, boring. The harder he tries to strike at the secret heart of enigmatic power — its G-spot, if you will — the limper and less sexy he becomes. Like a tech CEO offering a tour-in-pictures of the genocide-torn country where he took a nice meditation vacation, Katerina is all about the solipsistic and juvenile preoccupations of the man at its center and not at all about the world he passes through. He can’t see outside of himself, because he has never departed his perspective. Katerina herself might as well be a Beauty and the Beast-style anthropomorphized Fleshlight.