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Picnic At Hanging Rock (Vintage Lindsay) Paperback – 7 Feb 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics (7 Feb. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099577143
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099577140
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 60,721 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"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

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I came across the special edition of "Picnic at Hanging Rock" by Peter Weir I remembered how fond I was of that film - not to mention the effect the lovely "Miranda" had on me! Then and there I became aware of the fact that it was based on a book with the same title - and decided to buy the book as well.

It is truly a pity that Joan Lindsay did not write more books, as she's obviously very smart, having a great sense of humour and irony and a very gifted writer overall. This mystery novel imbued with horror and great beauty and a love of life alike kept me enthralled to the very last page - and left me thinking about it for a long time after. Does a book need any more praise?
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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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