Calvin Trillin’s In-Flight Gourmand Picnic

Calvin Trillin’s In-Flight Gourmand Picnic

Trillin’s joke about his “no-frills picnic” while en route from New York to Miami is a tongue-in-cheek report of the consequences of his wife Alice’s frugality that he calls “Law of Compensatory Cashflow.” Because Trillin always (almost) defers to Alice’s superior...
Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazon’s Picnic

Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazon’s Picnic

Arthur Ransome’s juvenile novel Swallows and Amazons takes its name from the Swallow and the Amazon, two fourteen-foot dinghies the children of the Walker and Blackett families sail in Coniston Lake in the English Lake District. Many of their adventures take place on...

Barbara Kingsolver’s Picnic in the Jungle

Among ruined picnics, Kingsolver’s Congo picnic ranks high. It’s a highlight of misadventure in The Poisonwood Wood Bible, a novel the name of which is derived from a misunderstanding of local language. When Reverend Nathan Price says, “Tata Jesus is...

“This is war, not a garden party!”

“This is war, not a garden party!” Dr. Meade’s stern admonition to Scarlett O’Hara and Aunt Pittypat Hamilton during the siege of Atlanta. Meade reminds Scarlett that she must not abandon Melanie Wilkes and Pittypat that ordinary social customs don’t apply in war. ...
Ando Hiroshige’s Cherry Blossom Viewing at Gotenyama

Ando Hiroshige’s Cherry Blossom Viewing at Gotenyama

Hiroshige’s sly sense of humor turns this hanami topsy-turvy. What his title Cherry Blossom Viewing at Gotenyama does not suggest tis that hanami is a drunken brawl. Well into the afternoon, some of the men are fist fighting and providing spectacle for of nearby...
The Homeric picnic in O Brother Where Art Thou?

The Homeric picnic in O Brother Where Art Thou?

After three thousand years, Homer’s The Odyssey got a picnic. Ethan Coen and Joel Coen’s loose adaptation of Homer’s epic O Brother Where Art Thou? makes a picnic of Ulysses’ encounter with Polyphemus, the one-eyed. Picture Everett, aka Odysseus, and loyal follower...
Sara & Gerald Murphy picnic in Antibes

Sara & Gerald Murphy picnic in Antibes

Villa America, Sara and Gerald Murphy’s home in Antibes looked down on a beach called La Garoupe, where they spread oriental carpets on the sand and drank wine and cold Veuve Cliquot. They were prodigious drinkers but what they ate is a mystery. During the 1920s,...

   
Samuel Beckett’s murderous picnic in Malone Dies

Samuel Beckett’s murderous picnic in Malone Dies

Time and details in Beckett’s Malone Dies are contradictory and often obscure. Events of the narrative are especially confusing, especially as it reaches a bloody climax that ends with a picnic where six people are hacked to death. This event is related by the...