£mily's Reviews > Picnic at Hanging Rock

Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay
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Jun 15, 12

bookshelves: amazing, classics, mystery, favourite-books, scary
Recommended to £mily by: The movie
Read in June, 2012 — I own a copy

On the 14th of February, 1900, a group of girls from an exclusive boarding school go for an ill-fated picnic to Hanging Rock. Three girls and a teacher go missing, and only one of them are ever seen again....

A book like this is very rare. A book where things don't fall into a neat ending, with all the strings tied up. A book where there is no end, no solution, and you are left to make your own conclusions. It was so refreshing to come across something different, something that isn't a conventional mystery where everything is done and dusted. Don't get me wrong, these are entertaining enough, but it is great to come across something different.

I first discovered this book after watching Peter Weir's excellent film adaptation,which conveys the mystical, spooky essence of this book very well. I was intruiged and purchased the book (an edition without the solution in chapter 18).
The writing was beautiful. I could see in my mind the mysterious, ancient rock, surrounded by the beautiful Australian bush. I could picture the girls, free of their corsets and shoes, walking up the haunting rock as if in a trance.
There was no-one, nothing, to blame. Each reader will pick up their own hints in the text, and decide on a solution. We are left to decide whether it was an act of nature or human or whether they met a more paranormal end. Was it nature, taking revenge for all hurt done to it? Was it a rockslide? A kidnapper? We do not know what happened.
And that is the most terrifying thing of all.

Note: I couldn't find Chapter 18 online, but have read the wikipedia summary. Personally, I prefer the story without it.
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