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Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay
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Picnic at Hanging Rock (original 1967; edition 1999)

by Joan Lindsay

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7202013,063 (3.71)57
Member:sallysvenson
Title:Picnic at Hanging Rock
Authors:Joan Lindsay
Info:Buccaneer Books (1999), Hardcover, 192 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:**
Tags:fiction, Australia

Work details

Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay (1967)

Recently added byifjuly, thaumat, minus, susanbevans, stephkru, thegreenmikado, martinh1, kdfawver, Amotisse, private library
  1. 00
    The Red Tree by Caitlín 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.
  2. 00
    Bereft by Chris Womersley (EmeraldGreen)
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Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
It was okay.

The story was very slow to begin with, it took until the halfway point to actually get interesting. The mystery of the book is absolutely what makes it wonderful. There are huge psychological impacts made by the disappearance of the young woman. The flow on is incredibly interesting, the author does a fabulous job of continually drawing you into a relationship or character and then pushing you away from them. It is a really interesting feeling as the book continues.

Did I love it? No.
Was I fascinated by the way she manipulated my love of the characters.. yes. (Hmmm. Game of Thrones is oddly similiar in that aspect alone).
Did I love it? Still no.

Also... Don't read the final unpublished chapter (chapter 18), it is stupid. ( )
  alsocass | Oct 12, 2013 |
This book is about the relationship budding between the young English nobleman and the Australian stable hand. The disappearance of the math teacher and the girls on the rock is just an allusion to intangibles and gaps in the order of things - loops in the space time continuum. With this happening in the first few pages is a good clue to this not being what the book is really about. More telling is what happens at the end of the book when a way is found for the Honourable Michael and the honest Albert find a way to go off together and with integrity in the public eye. Their love is masked by propriety.

Had Lindsay's publisher left in the last chapter when the book went to press, the thrust of the book would have been clearer. Things hanging in space as per Botticelli's' Mystical Nativity' and being caught in a cave by an errant boulder would have stopped the distraction of a mystery disappearance. - The novel would not have sold anywhere near as many copies - but it would have been understood better as a gay male romance novel written by a fiesty woman; of a Mary Renault type.

At the beginning there is the little precursor of the quality of the love relationship between Sarah and Miranda. While staid readers would just dismiss that as a schoolgirl crush, as the book goes on it is clear that it was far more profound to Sarah. As the book goes on we also uncover the relationship between Sarah and Albert and all sorts of hidden wonderments as to Albert's name changing father and the happen-chance benefactor to Sarah.

Is this a good book? Well, it really is more a description of a painting and Lindsay gives that clue very early on noting the real painting. There is the reality too that she was first a painter, as was her husband, and as were many of her family. She was after all the niece of Minnie Boyd and the cousin of Merric and his brood of brilliant artists who have become by-words for art in Australia. The story is loaded with symbols that a painter would put into a picture which would carry with them backstory to illustrate what is going on in the picture e.g. poppies that have a heavy sent (?), the sailor made mermaid tattoos on Albert, the white swan in the lake (pond), ticking (or stopped) timepieces throughout, and many others.

Joan Lindsay was herself from a very liberal artistic and legal family. She married into another one - medical and artistic. She wrote novels rather than paint so as not to compete with her artist husband. As well she was close to her cousin Martin Boyd who was gay (or at least a-sexual) and who wrote a string of superb novels several of which had to do with Melbourne society from the mid 19th to early 20th century on either - of note 'The Monforts' and 'Lucinda Braford'. (For me, Martin Boyd is one of Australia's foremost writers.) This book is in a familiar landscape for Joan Lindsay and it is also a foray into something risky yet something that needed to be said in 1960's Melbourne an Australian society at the time. Unfortunately it missed its mark a the time. ( )
  Edwinrelf | Aug 31, 2013 |
It’s 1900. A group of college girls goes on a picnic at a nature area. Some of the girls and one of their teachers do not return. It’s a mystery.

It doesn’t end there. Bad things continue to happen, long after the original event, bad things that are all loosely tied to the event. It’s a mystery.

So glad I read this little book. It’s short, but thoughtful, with beautiful writing and an interesting premise. Recommended. ( )
  debnance | Aug 5, 2013 |
This turns up on all the “best books” of Australia list, I was heading for Australia, and it sounded like a good read. It was not to be found through any American book source, however, so I went looking for it in Australia when I got there. The clerk at an impressively large bookstore in Hobart, Tasmania, told me that while, yes, the book is considered an Australian classic, their store doesn’t carry it as it is so “twee”--a British/Australian word that apparently means “affected” or “overly precious”--and she didn’t think I would find it elsewhere. I did, but I must say that I agree with her choice of adjectives. The story, which is centered in a private girls’ school in 1900, is loaded with atmosphere, but it is presented as a mystery, and I didn't find a mystery without a resolution, which this is, particularly satisfying. ( )
  sallysvenson | Nov 24, 2012 |
Finally, I got round to read this story that has haunted me for many many years. I saw the movie for about 35 years ago and have been thinking of it now and then over the years. I think I was hoping to get some answers but I didn´t get any. That is the secret of this story´s success - that there is no summing up, no solution to the mystery.

Interesting characters, strange nature, past times and this very strange mystery makes this the classic novel it is.
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  Amsa1959 | Sep 15, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:52:29 -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)

» see all 2 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

Three editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140031499, 0143202723, 0670076856

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