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Picnic at Hanging Rock

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  16,938 ratings  ·  1,862 reviews
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 retu
Paperback, 189 pages
Published July 2nd 1998 by Vintage (first published 1967)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
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 ·  16,938 ratings  ·  1,862 reviews

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mark monday
ah! and there you are, my perfect little novel! it has been some time since last we've embraced. come, let us reacquaint ourselves.

but what is that you say, and so modestly? what is so perfect about you? my sweet darling, don't be so shy! you are indeed a wondrous creation.

here, let me count the ways...

1. your mystery is timeless. three schoolgirls and one schoolmistress disappear on Valentine's Day afternoon, in 1900, in australia, at the mysterious Hanging Rock. where did they go? did Nature
Amalia Gkavea
”He reminded himself that he was in Australia: Australia, where anything might happen. In England everything had been done before: quite often by one’s own ancestors, over and over again.”

Two years ago, I watched a film based on the book by Joan Lindsay. A month ago, I watched a marvelous TV series adaptation of the same novel. Both versions were eerie, dark, atmospheric. I’ve always wanted to read Picnic at Hanging Rock and the opportunity came with the Movie Night discussion in Zuky’s wond
Nandakishore Mridula
Australia is a harsh, unforgiving land where the seasons are inverted from what is usually experienced by the world at large, the flora and fauna belong to an evolutionary niche not seen elsewhere and the original settlers are the descendants of deported convicts. Yet over this, an English-ness has been imposed: the carefully cultivated gardens, the finely turned out ladies and gentlemen, the afternoon teas and the elevenses. This contrast often gives rise to a tension between man and nature whi ...more
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
On a summer's day in 1900 the students at Appleyard College for Young Ladies decided to go on a picnic at Hanging Rock. Not everyone returned to the college.

I was definitely not drinking the Kool Aid on this one. I am perhaps in the minority here, but I found this book to be B-O-R-I-N-G. The girls go missing early on and the story just dragged. Were there metaphysical events going on? Did they get sucked into the rock? Was there a criminal element? What happened? Also, what about the good chara
May 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first review I wrote got "eaten" by the web, so here is take two.

This was a brilliantly written piece of psychological horror by an Australian writer. While reading this, I kept thinking about "The House of Leaves". I got the same eerie feelings I had while reading that story. The eeriness started to happen during the schoolgirls approach to the picnic grounds near the rock.

I was glad I got the chance to read this story. I had been wanting a copy for years. And as soon as I heard that Pengui
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’ve written before in some of my reviews about how much I hate books where an author teases us with a mystery (usually a disappearance or a murder) but then never gives us a satisfying solution because “that’s not how REAL LIFE works” or some such nonsense. God, the fucking arrogance of this stance. Yeah, I know that most murders are never solved in real life and that reality doesn’t get tied up in neat little bows, but you’re not doing anything revolutionary by drawing readers in with a myster ...more
Diane S ☔
Mar 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
It is the atmosphere, the pervasive sense of dread and the wonderful descriptions that made this book for me, a special read. The school, the headmistress, the students all with hidden undercurrents of eeriness. What happened to those girls? An open ended ending, up to the reader's interpretation. Have never seen the movie but want to see it after reading the book. Wonder how closely adapted the movie is to the book? Very well done and mysterious read. ...more
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Well, I'll admit, that I'm sitting here, rather perplexed, as to why this book is considered a classic. The book began well, it kept my attention and I was intrigued to learn what supposedly happened at this hanging rock. As the book continued, my yawns grew wider and longer, and really, I can definitely compare this book, to a homemade Yorkshire pudding, that failed to rise.

There seemed to be many questions asked in this story, but very few answers were given. The story kind of went off track,
Australian classic which I probably wouldn't have picked up other than I was short of an audio cd for the car. The added bonus to these Abc Australia productions, is the pan flute music that is borrowed from the movie version. It is pretty music that adds to the flavour of the time of the year 1900. The narrator was outstanding, Australian actress Jacqueline Mackenzie portrayed the Aussie flavour perfectly, her male voices were entertaining and real.

The story of a group of girls never to be seen
'Well, young ladies, we are indeed fortunate in the weather for our picnic to Hanging Rock. I have instructed Mademoiselle that as the day is likely to be warm, you may remove your gloves after the drag has passed through Woodend. You will partake of luncheon at the Picnic Grounds near the Rock. Once again let me remind you that the Rock itself is extremely dangerous and you are therefore forbidden to engage in any tomboy foolishness in the matter of exploration, even on the lower slopes. It ...more
Diane Barnes
May 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: odd-little-books
I don't generally care for open ended mysteries. I think if an author sets out to write a mystery he owes an explanation to his/her readers. But I think this was better because we never know certain things about how the girls disappeared and what became of them. It's more the story of the boarding school and the strange headmistress, with eerie undercurrents of sexual repression. Very well written, and the author hints that it may be based on a true story, but there are no facts to bear that out ...more
“Although we are necessarily concerned, in a chronicle of events, with physical action by the light of day, history suggests that the human spirit wanders farthest in the silent hours between midnight and dawn".
― Joan Lindsay, Picnic at Hanging Rock

Sigh. Another one that so many people adored that I just did not enjoy all that much.


I did not love it.

I only just read this book last year. I am including spoilers because I want to speak about the book as a whole including the e
Mar 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Dem by: Diane S ☔
Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay is a sinister tale that had me at page one.

I really enjoyed this novel and set in Austrailia in 1900.

" 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 threee girls climbed into the blaze of the afternoon sun , pressing on through the scrub into the shadows of hanging Rock. Further, higher, unitl at last they disappeared
Umut Rados
I did enjoy this Australian classic, but not as much as I expected. It started really good and interesting as it quickly opened with a mystery. It's set in a boarding school, and on a summer day, the class go to Hanging Rock for a picnic. 4 girls and 1 teacher wonder around separated from the rest of the class. Only one student makes her way back, and the rest get lost. The rest of the book is digging into the events, relationships, etc to resolve the mystery.

The book kept me wondering what hap
Jul 09, 2008 rated it did not like it
Surprisingly superficial. Instead of "a sense of evil" and "inexplicable terror", Lindsay has all her bad characters be ugly (ie. big or fat) and all her pretty characters be good (ie. lovely, beautiful, elegant, slim). Not a mention goes by without Miranda's shining hair, Irma's lovely curls and stunning face or Madame's slim figure. I was hoping for irony, but Lindsay seriously stipulates that Irma's loving nature makes her deride unattractive(ly dressed) people, and it's completely okay that ...more
Dec 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Mandy, The Virgin Suicides, Rebecca, Don't Look Now...
"'Never mind, Edith,' Irma comforted. 'You can go home soon and have some more of Saint Valentine's lovely cake and be happy.' An uncomplicated solution not only to Edith's present woe but to the sorrows of all mankind. Even as a little girl, Irma Leopold had wanted above all things to see everyone happy with the cake of their choice."

But things don't work out quite so well for any of those who took part in that fateful picnic...

They wander into "dim grey regions, forever seeking unknown nam
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’ (1967) by Joan Lindsay is a seemingly simple and effective story well told – ostensibly nothing particularly literary, original or exceptional, save perhaps for the setting, the eponymous ‘Hanging Rock’ and yet…

‘Hanging Rock’ is in one sense a good old fashioned mystery story, but it is this air of the mysterious and an all pervading sense of the eerie that is the key to the novels success – whether it is the monolithic ‘rock’ itself, the boarding school or the back stor
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite, favorites
The year is 1900, the girls at Appleyard College are all excited to be going for a day out to enjoy a picnic at Hanging Rock.
After lunch , three of the senior boarders , Miranda, Irma and Marion decide to take a closer look at the rock , followed by Edith .
In the blaze of the hot afternoon Australian sun , the girls climb higher and higher , until they disappear completely out of sight. They never return...
This haunting tale published in 1967 is beautifully written by Joan Lindsay , who was born
Sally Howes
PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK deserves its place as an Australian classic for the simple beauty of its prose and for its unique and extremely intriguing plot, but it must be said that in the end, it is an extremely frustrating story, even for those most skilled at reading between the lines. It has the feel of a very polished yet not quite finished manuscript, and once the chilling and compelling mystery of the disappearance of three boarding school girls and a governess at the Hanging Rock has been set ...more
This is the haunting tale of a well known Australian mystery. The author quickly states that this is an interpretation of events and that the facts of this story is largely unknown and the reader is left to make up their own mind. The story begins when a group of private college girls venture out on a school excursion on Valentine's Day 1900. Three girls and one school teacher disappear during a picnic at Hanging Rock in rural Victoria. This follows the aftermath of the event with some real life ...more
Lauren (Shakespeare & Whisky)
This book and its author Joan Lindsay are not very well known outside of Australia. But the novel is an absolute gem so everybody; add this to your TBR lists right now.

The story is about a group of girls from a boarding school that go missing at a picnic at Hanging Rock. This novel became an instant classic because it fed into one of the deepest unspoken fears of colonial Australia- the creepy, dangerous and otherworldly nature of the Australian bush. A strong argument could be made that the no
Nancy Oakes
Feb 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I saw this movie on IFC some time back & was sucked into the screen completely. When I realized there was a book, I bought a copy from a store called Aussie Books so that I could have a nice clean copy. I started this book one night and stayed up through the wee hours of the morning to finish it. It was most excellent! Definitely recommended but with the caution that if you don't like things left hanging, you're not going to enjoy this book. Me, I'm a firm believer that there are (even in the fi ...more
Apr 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: suspense fans
"Picnic at Hanging Rock" is a really mysterious and spooky story. It's presented as based on a true story that happened in 1900, but as I found out in the net, it's completely fiction.

Things are never fully explained and I could only guess the real causes and the real cruel or strange motives. As I finished reading it almost at night-it gave me shivers, because I didn't expect this book to create such a spooky and fearful atmosphere. The biggest horror is the mix of haziness and cruelty of peopl
Steven Godin
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Anyone who loves a good picnic in the countryside may suddenly be put off after reading Linday's sinister anti-picnic mystery. Told in a beautifully haunting prose, the novel grabbed me from the start, slowing drawing me in, with deft touches of a strange other-worldliness. Atmospheric and unsettling, the story set in 1900 Australia sees the disappearance of four women, out on a picnic from an all girls school. Could a mysterious rock formation hold the answers?
Lindsay uses vagueness and foresha
David Sarkies
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dark
An Australian Enigma
17 July 2018

Back around 1900, on Valentine’s day, a group of girls from a nearby boarding school just north of Melbourne went on a picnic to a nearby rock outcropping known as Hanging Rock. During the day three of the girls, and one of the teachers, decided to go and climb the rock to have a look around (remembering that these girls were wearing Victorian era clothing). The girls vanished without a trace, and the only one discovered could not remember a thing that had happen
Picnic at Hanging Rock is set in Australia in 1900, and centres on the disappearance of three schoolgirls and a teacher during a picnic at the titular Rock. The mystery is nebulous and open-ended. In many ways, the book isn't really about that; it's about loss and yearning and change, about being aware that youth, beauty and happiness are transient states. More than anything, it reminded me of Le Grand Meaulnes, evoking the same feelings of nostalgia and unbearable longing. The sun-soaked, verda ...more
Sharon Metcalf
Feb 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2018, logan-bookclub
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 girls climbed into the blaze of the afternoon sun, pressing on through the scrub into the shadows of Hanging Rock. Further, higher, until at last they disappeared. They never returned...

So reads the blurb on the back of the book. How I wish that was all I had read of The Picnic At Hanging Rock by Joan L
Cheyenne Blue
Feb 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: australian
My partner used to live near Hanging Rock. He came to Australia from Ireland as a teenager, and was immediately struck by the beauty and strangeness of the Australian Bush. He fell in love with it then, a love that never went away. He lived in Mt Macedon, a small community very close to Hanging Rock. He got his motorbike licence from the local policeman at Woodend ("Ride around the block and come back and tell me how you went." "Did you fall off? No? Good, then here's your licence.") and he live ...more
Aug 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
It is very rare that you can say a book is "exquisite" but there is really no other words for this little gem by Joan Lindsay. Short and sweet, eerie and elegant all at once, this book is part romance, part comedy of manners, part horror story. Three schoolgirls and their teacher go missing during a picnic and the impact of the mystery reverberates throughout the small rural community they live in, negatively and positively changing the lives of a variety of characters from different social and ...more
Cindy Newton
What a surprise this book was! I knew from the back that it was about the disappearance of several young girls while on a picnic, but I imagined that they get lost or kidnapped--some traditional way. There is NOTHING traditional about the disappearance of these women!

What a wonderfully layered book this is. It is about the disappearance of the girls, of course, but that happens early on, and most of the book takes place far from the site of this. We find ourselves exploring the effects on the p
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Joan Lindsay, Lady Lindsay was an Australian author, best known for her "ambiguous and intriguing" novel Picnic at Hanging Rock. ...more

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It's no secret that television is getting in on the book adaptation game. With so many channels—along with Netflix, Hulu,...
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“Everything begins and ends at exactly the right time and place.” 49 likes
“Although we are necessarily concerned, in a chronicle of events, with physical action by the light of day, history suggests that the human spirit wanders farthest in the silent hours between midnight and dawn. Those dark fruitful hours, seldom recorded, whose secret flowerings breed peace and war, loves and hates, the crowning or uncrowning of heads.” 24 likes
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