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Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay

Picnic at Hanging Rock (original 1967; edition 1999)

by Joan Lindsay

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8742710,152 (3.75)73
Title:Picnic at Hanging Rock
Authors:Joan Lindsay
Info:Buccaneer Books (1999), Hardcover, 192 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, Australia

Work details

Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay (1967)

  1. 00
    Queen of Stones by Emma Tennant (KayCliff)
  2. 00
    The Red Tree by Caitlin R. Kiernan (blacksylph)
    blacksylph: 'Picnic at Hanging Rock' is referenced several times in this book. They also share a tone of unseen dread and mystery.
  3. 00
    Bereft by Chris Womersley (EmeraldGreen)

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English (24)  French (1)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  All (27)
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
What a weird and awesome book. I disliked it at first, finding the dry and flippant tone reminiscent of early Evelyn Waugh but without Waugh's insightfulness and careful observation to alleviate the sarcasm. The social satire was oddly interspersed with lovingly beautiful descriptions of the Australian landscape, with a jarring effect. And yet very quickly—as soon as the party of school girls arrives at Hanging Rock and the central mystery begins, the book begins to work. The alterations of tone serve to unbalance and unsettle the reader, creating a sense of disorientation that works perfectly with the substance of the story.

I have also reviewed this book in more detail on my blog. ( )
  Dunaganagain | Jun 27, 2017 |
Picnic At Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay is a novelization of a actual strange event that happened when a group of Australian teachers and schoolgirls went on a picnic on Valentine’s Day of 1900. Some of those attending the picnic were destined to never return, and to this day, no one really seems to know what happened after they walked into the bush with the plan on climbing the rock.

Perhaps it is to the author’s credit that she refrained from speculation or sensationalism but I felt the absence of any motive or sense of direction hurt the story. Using only the facts known made the disappearance of three students and one teacher very frustrating. The investigation was doomed from the start as witnesses were allowed to wallow in hysteria and certain facts were concealed to save embarrassment such as the fact that the one girl who was found days later was missing her corset. To speak of corsets was out of the question in these rigid Victorian times. The two main witnesses were never questioned closely due to one’s hysterical reaction and the other’s apparent lack of memory of the event.

This was an intriguing read and the author set the sinister atmosphere from the start giving the reader the feeling that there was a sense of purpose or an orchestration going on behind the scenes. Altogether Picnic At Hanging Rock was a short, eerie and slightly frustrating read. I am however glad that I read this book even though my curiosity was not to be satisfied with a direct answer. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | May 20, 2017 |
I enjoyed this novel thoroughly. Many years ago I saw the film and was fascinated by it; the book is even better.

Three South Australian private school girls and their math teacher disappear on a special outing to Hanging Rock in February of 1900. I have never been to Australia, but Lindsay manages to evoke a great feeling of geographical isolation in the bush, as well as helplessness in a world before mobile phones and search and rescue helicopters.

I was startled to find that the main crisis of the story - the disappearances - happened so early in the novel and genuinely wondered how Lindsay was going to keep me interested for the rest of the book. I needn't have worried. Lindsay's striking characterizations, particularly of the headmistress, and her gift for atmosphere kept me hanging on until the last page.

This is a book I recommend most highly. It is unusual, creepy, and extremely well written, and will stay with you long after you put the book down. ( )
  ahef1963 | Feb 4, 2017 |
I took a few pages to really get into this on but once I did it was hard to put down. This is an Australian classic for a good reason. Set in 1900 the issues it raises are still very relevant today. The disappearance of 3 girls and a teacher at Hanging Rock near Bendigo result in a series of events affecting the lives of all the people in the area that day.
Lindsay manages to evoke the sense of isolation that the Australian bush can give as well as set the time (written in 1967 story set in 1900).
The fact that there is no resolution to the story is much more real-world than many mystery stories that I have read recently. So often the author wants to tie everything up in a bow or set something up for a series. But in real life people go missing, there is no resolution, and that event will continue to affect their friends, family and by-standers for the rest of their lives.
I read somewhere that Joan Lindsay originally had a final chapter that did resolve the mystery but at the insistence of the publisher this was never printed - I think that this was a good call: Solved, this story would have never had the staying power to last as long as it has. Unsolved: This mystery will play in your head long after you finish it ( )
  SashaM | Apr 20, 2016 |
It's hard to write about this book, since it's still inside my head, but I think it's such a book which will stay there for a long time.

I love how the writer spun this web of stories and then pulled it into a noose at the end. The use of narrator's voice that takes distance to the events at times carries the eerie athmosphere throught the novel.

Extremely interesting is also the depiction of time, the idyllic Victorian world that meets the harsh reality of a totally different environment than where it started from. The English garden in the desert. And the 'unmentionables' that is, the Aboriginals who are only hinted at at a few parts of the book and seem to be equally dangerous with the threathening local nature.

I need a few day's rest after this with nice books. This was a beautiful book, but it feels like there are some things lurking at the edges of my mind that are better left alone. ( )
  mayusteapot | Jan 4, 2016 |
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Everyone agreed that the day was just right for the picnic to Hanging Rock—a shimmering summer morning warm and still, with cicadas shrilling all through breakfast from the loquat trees outside the dining room windows and bees murmuring above the pansies bordering the drive.
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Book description
On St. Valentine's Day in 1900 a party of schoolgirls went on a picnic to Hanging Rock. Some were never to return...

Picnic at Hanging Rock centers around a trip by a party of girls from Appleyard College, a fictitious upper class private boarding school, who travel to Hanging Rock in the Mount Macedon area, Victoria, for a picnic on St. Valentine's Day in 1900. The excursion ends in tragedy when three of the girls, and later one of their teachers, mysteriously vanish while climbing the rock. No reason for their disappearance is ever given, and one of the missing girls who is later found has no memory of what has happened to her companions. A fourth girl who also climbed the rock with the group is of little help in solving the mystery, having returned in hysterics for reasons she cannot explain.

The disappearances provoke much local concern and international sensation with sexual molestation, abduction and murder being high on the list of possible outcomes. Several organized searches of the picnic grounds and the area surrounding the rock itself turn up nothing. Meanwhile the students, teachers and staff of the college, as well as members of the community, grapple with the riddle-like events. A young man on a private search locates one of the missing girls, but is himself found in an unexplained daze — yet another victim of the rock. Concerned parents begin withdrawing their daughters from the formerly prestigious college and several of the staff, including the headmistress, either resign or meet with tragic ends. We are told that both the College, and the Woodend Police Station where records of the investigation were kept, are destroyed by fire shortly afterwards.

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140031499, Paperback)

On St Valentine's day in 1900 a party of schoolgirls went on a picnic to Hanging Rock. Some were never to return. This book was first published in 1967.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:08 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

On St. Valentine's Day in 1900 a party of schoolgirls went on a picnic to Hanging Rock. Some were never to return.

(summary from another edition)

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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140031499, 0143202723, 0670076856

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