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 is cut is a typical example of Atkinson’s method of...
John Banville’sThe Sea

John Banville’sThe Sea

John Manville’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...
Giles Price’s Katmandu

Giles Price’s Katmandu

In the aftermath of a 7.3 magnitude earthquake in Nepal, residents of Katmandu 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...
Hogg’s Glum Picnic (and Nobody Cares)

Hogg’s Glum Picnic (and Nobody Cares)

Glum! The Isles of Scilly, usually clement, but this picnic is cold. It’s perfect for a glum family on a short vacation to see off Edward, who is about to leave for a new job of combating AIDS and promoting safe sex in Africa. There is some levity, a few smiles, but...
Banksy’s Beach Picnic

Banksy’s Beach Picnic

Banksy’s satirical Picnic contrasts a group of indigenous African hunter-gatherers bewildered by the picnic of a White middle-class urban family picnicking on the beach. The contrast of civilizations and technologies suggests irreconcilable differences that as of...
Talbott’s Apple Pie Picnic

Talbott’s Apple Pie Picnic

David Russell Talbott’s Apple Pie Picnic (2008) is a send-up of the cliché “As American as apple pie.” Talbott jams as many icons as he can on the picnic cloth. Marilyn Monroe on her knees next to a picnic basket on which is a steaming apple pie; a copy of Jack...
Gilles Bourdos’  Renoir at Les Collettes

Gilles Bourdos’ Renoir at Les Collettes

Summer 1915 was no picnic for Pierre-Auguste Renoir. He was seventy-three and feeling old; mourning the death of his wife Aline; and  out of sorts with his sons Pierre and Jean, both injured in combat in the war, and Claude, a bored teenager. His rheumatoid arthritis...