Below is an excerpt of an interview between the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Andy Kahan and Walter Mosley where Mosley discusses the critical response to his latest book-Killing Johnny Fry: A Sexistential Novel, a sexually graphic tale in which the course of a man’s life is changed when he witnesses a painful infidelity. In this part of the interview, Mosely compares the acceptability of extreme violence in classic novels to the unacceptability of extreme sexual content.
“I’m shocked. I’m shocked, you know. Two books that I love, All Quiet on the Western Front and Night, by Elie Wiesel. You know you got All Quiet on the Western Front is violence almost from the first page to the last page. People getting shot. People getting killed. People getting gutted. People getting gassed. People starving to death. And you get this one guy- Katczinsky-he gets away with everything. He does everything, he gets away with everything, and he gets killed at the end?Everybody dies! Everybody dies! That’s what the book should be called-Everybody Dies. And then you have Night, which is a gorgeous book, which is about depravity. It’s about torturing and murdering just rending people and tattooing them and killing them and burning them and stacking their bodies up high. People read these books and that’s ok.”
What do you think? Are you more willing to read a graphically violent novel than a graphically sexual one? In the 21st century, why is sexuality still taboo?