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Picnic At Hanging Rock [Paperback]

Joan Lindsay
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 5.84 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

2 July 1998

It was a cloudless summer day in the year nineteen hundred.

Everyone at Appleyard College for Young Ladies agreed it was just right for a picnic at Hanging Rock. After lunch, a group of three of the girls climbed into the blaze of the afternoon sun, pressing on through the scrub into the shadows of Hanging Rock. Further, higher, till at last they disappeared.

They never returned.

Whether Picnic at Hanging Rock is fact or fiction the reader must decide for themselves.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (2 July 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099750619
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099750611
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 151,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


This deliciously horrific Australian thriller, set in 1900, could be seen as an anti-picnic cautionary tale. (Observer)

Written in a beautifully haunting style that drew me in. (Esther McKay Sun Herald (Australia))

A sinister tale...laced with touches of other-worldliness (Guardian)

Book Description

On St Valentines Day in 1900 a party of school girls set out for a picnic. some were never to return.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
76 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A haunting and enigmatic tale 28 Feb 2001
By A Customer
Having seen Peter Weir's film before reading Joan Lindsay's novel it is difficult for me to review the book without referring to the film. The film leaves out some details from the novel but both convey the same sense of beauty, horror and loss, longing and haunting. We are told on the book's cover that the story is based around a St Valentine's day picnic in 1900, and the disappearance of some of the picnic party.
Picnic at Hanging Rock is Joan Lindsay's only work of fiction, although its many themes are firmly based on reality. The story covers the loss of youth, beauty and innocence; love and sexuality; discrimination, prejudice and class privilege; fear, passion and the breakdown of order; the English Empire in a foreign environment, the clash of alien cultures, and the end of an era; beliefs and life's purpose; life's myriad web and coincidences; destiny and fate; and Time itself, reflected in Miranda's favourite quote "Everything begins and ends at exactly the right time and place".
Joan Lindsay's descriptions of the Australian bush and wildlife are as evocative as Russell Boyd's cinematography. The style and language of her writing is deliberate to emulate turn-of-the 20th century writers.
The girls images were already imprinted on my mind when I read the book and the casting in the film seemed to me perfect, especially that of Anne Louise Lambert as Miranda and Karen Robson as Irma. Joan Lindsay described Mademoiselle Dianne de Poitiers, the French teacher and the girls' confidante, as having blond hair, yet the casting of the excellent Helen Morse was inspired.
Joan Lindsay describes Miranda as a Botticelli Angel from the Galleria Degli Uffizi in Florence, and Peter Weir specifically uses the image of the birth of Venus.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderfully Evocative Tale 6 Oct 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"An elegantly written novel that deserves the status of a classic...the film is lyrical and beautiful, but don't think that simply because you've seen the film you will be wasting your time reading the book. The book is rich in detail and provides greater depth to the story. The producers of the film were blessed with such wonderful source material - and it's obvious they took considerable advantage of this. Joan Lindsay's writing is as beautiful and enigmatic as her heroine Miranda. A truly sublime reading experience. Rarely have a book and film complimented each other so well."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Mundane Tragedy 17 Dec 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This novel has a pleasant relaxed narrative style that, although it was written little more than forty years ago would never now be allowed through modern creative writing filters. Some of the best scenes are related from the view point of a detached third party narrator, with a good feeling for the ambience of Appleyard's College, the surrounding landscape and the numinous Hanging Rock. The book tends to emphasise the divorce of the staff and girls from the vibrant natural world around them, whereas the better known film is more suggestive of personal repression. The narrative approach avoids the difficulties that might have come from being confined to the thought processes of mainly young minds. When this book was turned into a much more renowned film in 1979, it was widely thought to be based on a real disappearance. This idea is now ridiculed. However, it does not take many clicks of the browser to show aspects of the area's background that hint a a more mundane tragedy that some might prefer forgotten. As for faults, the writing is less sure footed with reported speech than narrative accounts, and attempts to convey the servants etc. associated with the story, particularly in speech, are a bit clunky.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like The Blair Witch's Big Brother. 1 Oct 2000
By A Customer
Picnic at Hanging Rock is the type of book that makes the reader completely lose track of time, in the race to discover the fate of the girls. Set in the early 1900's, the book is the chilling story of a group of girls and their teacher who mysteriously vanish during a St Valentines Day picnic. The book is apparently based upon real events which happened at Hanging Rock at the beginning of the 20th Century. I discovered the book after seeing the motion picture, and have since rad the book many times. It is very similar to The Blair Witch Project, in that there is no explanation as to what happened to the girls or the maths mistress. There are several subplots running through the novel, which add greatly to the depth and realism of the book. Especially fascinating is the subplot featuring Sarah, a 'charity' pupil at the school. The climax to Sarahs story within the book comes as a complete surprise, and will make you want to immediately reread the book in the search for clues! Definitely worth a read, especially for horror fans. A disturbing tale which will keep you guessing till the very end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating But Flawed 24 Nov 2009
I read somewhere that the editors advised Joan Lindsay to cut the last chapter in which she had solved her mystery of the fictional schoolgirls who vanish on St. Valentine's Day in 1900 Victoria, Australia at the brooding Hanging Rock. Whether this report is apocryphal or not, I do not know, and I am conflicted about the disturbing ending, or lack of it. On the one hand, it leaves the reader pondering possible solutions. On the other hand, it seems unsatisfactory, since one has come to care for the well-delineated characters of the girls--especially Miranda and Sara--and the young men--Michael and Albert, as well as the governess, Mademoiselle, whom we discover mid-book is the namesake of that historical figure of courtly love, Dianne de Poitiers.

Perhaps much of the disappointment comes from the fact that Miss Lindsay relates her tail in compelling prose that captivates the reader until the end, and then the end does not come.

One of the reasons I read the book was to clarify some of the omissions in the Criterion Collection DVD, which were present in the original screen version (which I loved), such as the fate of Miss McCraw, the Maths governess. I felt justified that this cut from the NTSC version was indeed in the book.

Despite the troubling ending, which leaves the reader with dozens of unanswered questions, the book is well worth reading. And even though one might find the beginning a bit slow, one will soon be mesmerised and find it difficult to put the book down. One can easily discern traces of of the subtle magic that Peter Weir captured so brilliantly in the movie's original screen version.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
Very atmospheric and with pervading sense of sexual repression. Not quite sure what actually exactly happened at Hanging Rock but tremendous atmosphere. Read more
Published 1 month ago by janex
2.0 out of 5 stars Good but not everyone's cup of tea
A good book in places but not something I would choose to read personally unless it was on a set reading list (like it was for me).
Published 3 months ago by grace gilbert
5.0 out of 5 stars box set
a classic well written ,well acted and haunting location work and the extras in the collection were worth the money alone
Published 4 months ago by keith rennoldson
3.0 out of 5 stars Mystifying
I found this a frustrating read with cypher characters and no outcomes one could believe in. The Australian countryside was red in tooth and claw and provided the most stimulating... Read more
Published 7 months ago by KJP
5.0 out of 5 stars Reasons for loving Picnic at Hanging Rock
Picnic at Hanging Rock
I love it because of the descriptions of scenery, dress , characters and Appleyard College all very evocative
Published 9 months ago by Mary Mitchell Keir
3.0 out of 5 stars Some rather undistinguished books have been made into great films- and...
Like a number of other reviewers I make no apologies for discussing this book in terms of its relationship with Peter Weir's film adaptation; had I never seen the film, I doubt if... Read more
Published 10 months ago by J C E Hitchcock
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read
Picnic at Hanging Rock
I read this on my way to Australia and really enjoyed the read before visiting Hanging Rock where we had a BBQ. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Barbara
5.0 out of 5 stars great!
bought this as price was very good compared to all others i had seen. arrived quickly, as described. highly recommended
Published 14 months ago by Tim Stopforth
3.0 out of 5 stars Good present
Well liked gift great old story well told I even visited the rocks in Melbourne and the house it was fimed at in Australia very interesting
Published 15 months ago by J English
5.0 out of 5 stars Good
This book is exactely in the conditions I expected it. No broken pages, package in very good conditions and any kind of spot
Published on 21 Feb 2012 by Consuelo
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