Saumyaa Vohra, writing for the “Sex” section of GQ magazine, recommended “7 best erotic novels to read right now”—the right now, given the timing of the post, presumably being Valentine’s Day.
Number 1 on the list was Luster by Raven Leilani, followed by Carnage (Sarah Bailey), You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty (Akwaeke Emezi), Set (Alexandria House), Call Me By Your Name (André Aciman), What Belongs to You (Garth Greenwell), and John Updike’s Couples.
Of Couples, Vohra wrote, “The former New Yorker writer, poet and Pulitzer Prize winner truly knows how to use the written word to its full potential; and this 1968 novel about a licentious circle of ten couples in the small Massachusetts town of Tarbox is proof of that skill. Rife with historical events of the time (which make the book one with deeper value than simply being smutty indulgence–because one would expect no less from Updike), the book is enjoyable and incredibly hot, going into sexual detail that was unusual for its time but still holds up. And, like any good erotic novel from the days of yore, caused a tonne of controversy at the time.”