Charles Simic’s “Night Picnic” (2001)

Charles Simic’s “Night Picnic” (2001)

Simic’s “Night Picnic” takes place on the grass on a very dark looking at the vast starless sky.  The narrator finds it slightly ironic that in such a situation, he and his companion should be drinking red wine and nibbling a crust. Wine and bread suggest communion,...
Kate Atkinson Started Early, Took my Dog for a Walk (2010)

Kate Atkinson Started Early, Took my Dog for a Walk (2010)

Killing time. That’s what Atkinson uses a picnic for in Started Early, Took my Dog for a Walk. But in the TV series Case Histories is cut and replaced with an afternoon snack in a cafe. Importantly, what else Glenaan cut from the text is a typical example of...
Monica Ali’s  Brick Lane (2007)

Monica Ali’s Brick Lane (2007)

Monica Ali’s family in Brick Lane is outwardly happy but inwardly troubled. After twenty years, Nazneen’s arranged marriage to Chanu Ahmed has gone wobbly. She’s never loved Chanu, but at the time of the picnic, she’s conflicted by guilt and lust-fueled by Karim, a...
David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King (2011)

David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King (2011)

Wallace’s The Pale King, an unhappy novel by an unhappy author who committed suicide before completing it. As is, a picnic, without food or drink,  finds Lane A. Dean, Jr. and his girlfriend Sherri “good people,” middle-American-Christian youth,...
John Banville’sThe Sea (2005)

John Banville’sThe Sea (2005)

Banville’s The Sea is about a man’s untrustworthy memories—less about his dying wife and more about his sexual awakening when he was about eleven years old. Looking back, Max Morden realizes that his observations of the Grace family’s beach picnics “changed his life...
Martin Booth’s A Very Private Gentleman (2004)

Martin Booth’s A Very Private Gentleman (2004)

Question: What does a gunsmith take to a picnic on the grass? Answer: cold bottles of Frascati and Asprinio, five 0grams of pecorino, 100 grams of prosciutto, a jar of small black olives, two oranges, a thermos of sweet black coffee, a loaf of coarse bread, and a...
Giles Price’s “Parade Ground in Katmandu” (2015)

Giles Price’s “Parade Ground in Katmandu” (2015)

In the aftermath of a 7.3 magnitude earthquake in Nepal, Katmandu residents camped out in the open. At a glance, Giles Price’s photograph seems to be a picnic. It is not. It’s a small segment of the chaos of disaster on what would otherwise be a glorious day. The...
Alexander Payne’s Sideways

Alexander Payne’s Sideways

Tasting wine at a picnic on a hillside in Sonoma. For discussion, see Picniconfilm.org. Featured Image: They all look so chummy. Alexander Payne’s Sideways (2004).