Picnic at Hanging Rock

by Joan Lindsay | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0143132059 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingperryfranwing of Elk Grove, California USA on 7/18/2019
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Journal Entry 1 by wingperryfranwing from Elk Grove, California USA on Thursday, July 18, 2019
Picnic at Hanging Rock
by Joan Lindsay

A 50th-anniversary edition of the landmark novel about three "gone girls" that inspired the acclaimed 1975 film, featuring a foreword by Maile Meloy, author of Do Not Become Alarmed

It was a cloudless summer day in the year 1900. Everyone at Appleyard College for Young Ladies agreed it was just right for a picnic at Hanging Rock. After lunch, a group of three girls climbed into the blaze of the afternoon sun, pressing on through the scrub into the shadows of the secluded volcanic outcropping. Farther, higher, until at last they disappeared. They never returned. . . .

Mysterious and subtly erotic, Picnic at Hanging Rock inspired the iconic 1975 film of the same name by Peter Weir. A beguiling landmark of Australian literature, it stands with Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, and Jeffrey Eugenides' The Virgin Suicides as a masterpiece of intrigue.

Journal Entry 2 by wingperryfranwing at Elk Grove, California USA on Tuesday, August 6, 2019
A few months ago, I watched the 2018 miniseries based on this novel and really enjoyed it. Since then, I have wanted to read the novel and when my daughter gave me a gift card from Barnes & Noble for my birthday, I decided to use part of it to get the book. I know the novel was also made into a well-received movie in 1975 that I will also be keeping an eye out for.



The novel is set in 1900 in Australia. On Valentine's Day, a group of female students from a girls' boarding school go on a picnic to a nearby local rock formation called Hanging Rock. During the picnic, four of the girls go on a hike up to the formation and three of the girls vanish inexplicably along with one of the governesses from the boarding school. The novel goes on to delve into how these disappearances affected the local community and especially the school itself including the other girls at the school and the staff and faculty. The novel is presented as if it is a true story and the author states at the front of the book: "whether it is fact or fiction, my reader must decide for themselves. As the fateful picnic took place in the year 1900, and all the characters who appear in the book are long since dead, it hardly seems important." Hanging Rock is an actual location in Australia:



So what happened to the missing girls? This is never revealed in the novel. However, the author did write a last chapter to the story explaining how it ended. But her publishers told her to cut it, so she did. The final chapter was published after her death as explained in the introduction to this edition. Also, in 1980, a book titled The Murders at Hanging Rock was published which "examined theories about what happened including a parallel universe, UFO abduction, and a gruesome murder committed by two young men at the picnic grounds." I felt the ending in the novel was the best way to go leaving the reader with a sense of the unknown and a mystery that could not be solved. Overall, an intriguing and compelling read.

Journal Entry 3 by wingperryfranwing at Exchange/Trade, A Bookcrossing member -- Controlled Releases on Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Released 4 yrs ago (8/6/2019 UTC) at Exchange/Trade, A Bookcrossing member -- Controlled Releases

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

Sending to Gorydetails in a trade for The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror by Joyce Carol Oates. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 4 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Saturday, August 10, 2019
The book arrived safely today; many thanks!

Journal Entry 5 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Wednesday, October 2, 2019
I'd enjoyed the 1975 film back when it came out, and had wondered how it compared to the book; turns out it was relatively faithful, especially to the overall tone. But I was really delighted with the book, which is beautifully written in a way that made me pause to savor a phrase or a scene. I felt more appreciation for the characters, too, as the book could include their inner thoughts in ways that the film didn't always attempt.

While the core of the story is the disappearance of three girls (one found later but with no memories of what happened) and one woman teacher on the rock, and that's what captured my interest in the film, here I found myself being much more intrigued by the ways in which the disappearances affected so many other people, from the students and staff at the school to the young men who witnessed the girls wandering off (and were instrumental in saving the one who reappeared). There are relationships of all types, romantic and familial and friendly and obsessive, and there's a great variety of reactions to the mystery as well, from shock and grief to a strong motivation to move on. And one of the stronger and more horrifying subplots - the fate of poor Sara - has almost nothing to do with the disappearance other than the way in which it distracts several people who should have been paying more attention to her trails. Moments of distraction prevented her financial troubles from being settled in time to save her, and kept her from connecting with her long-lost brother, who never knew how close she'd been. {sniffle!}

There are a few upbeat subplots, from the unlikely friendship between bored rick-kid Michael and rough-and-ready groom Albert to the below-stairs romance of Minnie and Irish Tom, but few of the other characters make it out of the story unscathed. And yet, despite the air of tragedy and mystery, I found it a thoroughly enjoyable book!

[There's a TV Tropes page on the film and the novel, with some interesting tidbits - but do beware of spoilers.]

Journal Entry 6 by wingGoryDetailswing at Little Free Library, Outlook Drive in Lexington, Massachusetts USA on Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Released 4 yrs ago (10/3/2019 UTC) at Little Free Library, Outlook Drive in Lexington, Massachusetts USA

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

I left this book in this Little Free Library on this very rainy day; hope someone enjoys it!

[See other recent releases in MA here.]

*** Released for the 2019 Movie release challenge. ***

*** Released for the 2019 Keep Them Moving release challenge. ***

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