Review Blog

Jan 08 2013

Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay

cover image

Penguin (Australia) 2012. First published (Australia) Cheshire, 1967. ISBN: 978067007685.
Recommended. 'Whether Picnic at Hanging Rock is fact or fiction, my readers must decide for themselves.' - Joan Lindsay.
My first impression of the text Picnic at Hanging Rock was that it would be an English story about well-behaved girls at a boarding school who went on a picnic; however I soon found that this classic is much more than this. The children's novel is a hauntingly atmospheric tale which has wormed its way into the hearts and minds of Australians providing an unsolved mystery of whether the story was indeed fictional. Our story starts at Appleyard College for Young Ladies where students and teachers alike are revelling in the holiday of St. Valentine's Day. The girls set off (with two governesses) on a long anticipated picnic to Hanging Rock and spend a lazy afternoon at the picnic grounds. However, while exploring; three senior girls disappear without a trace leaving their companion, Edith delirious with terror. The incident soon sets off a magnificent series of events.
A dramatic mystery without a conclusion Joan Lindsay shows a previously unknown devotion to her work. The novel was written over a period of four weeks and as much mystery surrounds the story as the publication (the novel was published purposely without the final chapter). Although the more pressing mystery of this novel is whether or not this is truly fiction? The author bids the reader to decide for themselves however I remind the reader that there is a grain of truth in every work of fiction.
Kayla Gaskell (Student, age sixteen)

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