Monday, July 04, 2011

The ten best literary picnics

At the Guardian, Kate Kellaway named the ten best literary picnics.

One picnic on the list:
The Duel
by Anton Chekhov

Red-faced, good-hearted, peace-making Samoylenko prepares “an awfully good soup of grey mullets” (impractical choice?) for his picnic and fusses about salt, friendship and the soup’s reception. Chekhov’s characters do not agree much with each other (take note of the title) but soup brings temporary harmony: “the fish soup was ready by now. They were ladling it out by platefuls and eating it with the religious solemnity with which this is only done at picnics.” This picnic party may be reverent but it is also untidy – they lose bread and spill salt and wine everywhere.
Read about another picnic on the list.

David Mitchell would save The Duel “from a burning house before everything else I’ve read.”

--Marshal Zeringue