Jim Crace’s Being Dead (1999)

Jim Crace’s Being Dead (1999)

Crace’s combination of an awful  picnic and murder is not your average picnic. But Being Dead’s readers often find it so appealing they search for Baritone Bay, the place where the central characters are murdered.  There is no telling where they search...
Günter Grass’s The Flounder (1977)

Günter Grass’s The Flounder (1977)

Grass’ novel The Flounder is a picnic, a weird combination of friendship and betrayal, rage and murder, grilled meats and alcohol. The ingredients, according to Grass of the German psyche on the national celebration of “Father’s Day” and...
Samuel Beckett’s Malone Dies (1956)

Samuel Beckett’s Malone Dies (1956)

Time and details in Beckett’s Malone Dies are contradictory, if not 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. The narrative of this picnic is...
Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy (1925)

Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy (1925)

Years after, Chester Gillette clubbed Grace Brown with a tennis racquet and left her to drown in Moose Lake, New York. Theodore Dreiser came upon the story and recreated it as An American Tragedy. The real murder had no picnic, but Dreiser’s unacknowledged fictional...
D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love (1920)

D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love (1920)

See Picnicsonfilm.org for a discussion of Ken Russell’s Women in Love. “The Water Party,” Women in Love (1920), is Lawrence’s allegory of love and death that begins well and ends awfully. Ostensibly it is a company picnic, a noblesse oblige affair sponsored by...
Isabel Colgate’s The Shooting Party

Isabel Colgate’s The Shooting Party

Isabel Colgate’s The Shooting Party is a snapshot of English gentry circa October 1913 when Sir Randolph and Minnie Nettleby, the lord and lady of the manor, host one of their traditional fall shooting parties. It’s accompanied by a halt on the hunt, or midday break...
George Stevens’ A Place in the Sun (1951)

George Stevens’ A Place in the Sun (1951)

George Stevens’ revision of Dreiser’s An American Tragedy won him an Oscar. Inexplicably he retitled it A Place in the Sun.  See Picnicsonfilm.org for discussion.            ...
Emile Zola’s Therese Raquin (1867)

Emile Zola’s Therese Raquin (1867)

Thérèse Raquin and her lover Laurent LeClaire murder her husband, Camille, at a picnic. It’s a pivotal scene in Emile Zola’s Thérèse Raquin, illustrating that when people give in to the “fatalities of their flesh,” they become “brutes humaines.” In this instance,...