Steps! Steps towards what? Perdition, most likely. Not as perverted as The Painted Bird, yet still disturbing, the depravity waxes and wanes. One should wonder how this trash won a National Book Award prize. And, what qualities did the judges possess, not to mention those who write reviews. Let's see who the judges could have been. Surely, the Marquis de Sade would be a shoe-in to head the panel. Then there are Pauline Reage, Anais Nin, Henry Miller, Thomas Pynchon (who can forget his degenerate general and his defecating slattern of Gravity's Rainbow.), possibly D. H. Lawrence, Erica Jong, John Cleland. Wow! And Balzac and Zola were once banned.