Wednesday, November 27, 2013

AusReading Month - Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay

The blurb:

In 1900, a class of young women from an exclusive private school go on an excursion to the isolated Hanging Rock, deep in the Australian bush. The excursion ends in tragedy when three girls and a teacher mysteriously vanish after climbing the rock. Only one girl returns, with no memory of what has become of the others ...

Well...  November is nearing its end, and I have yet to publish my posts for AusReading month!  Better late than never, I will get them all in by the end of the month...just by the skin of  my teeth!

This title has been released as an Australian Children’s Classic, but I am not sure I would sell it as a children’s book.  As you can see by the new cover it looks like it’s suitable for younger readers, but I would say it’s more of a teenage/adult title. 

The story of course is very famous, most Australians of a certain age know the basics of the story, even if they have never read the book or seen the movie.  It has most definitely become a part of our culture.  The language is descriptive and beautiful and while the story isn't action packed it draws the reader into the mystery, so it’s difficult to stop reading.  I think that because everyone knows the story, for those reading it for the first time, you do so with some trepidation.  It’s like a novel or a movie about the Titanic, you ultimately know how it’s going to end, but that doesn’t stop you reading the story.  We all know that the girls go missing, so as I was reading it, I just watch the girls going off on their own, thinking…no…don’t do it…

The interesting thing about this book is that while this book is a work of fiction, it was written as if it were a true story, and over the years there has been speculation as to whether any part of the story was in fact true.  The geographic locations in the story are real, and you can go and visit Hanging Rock if you are in the Mount Macedon area.  It has been confirmed however, that it is a work of fiction, but that doesn't stop it feeling like a real life unsolved mystery.  In 1980 there was even a book written called The Murders at Hanging Rock which proposed various explanations as to what may have happened to the girls in the story.

As with all of the books I look at for AusReading month, I will show some of the cover images that have been available over the years.  The one on the far right is the  new Australian Children's Classic collection.  

1 comment:

  1. I have a copy with the cover on the left. The movie with it's pan pipe music plays in my mind as soon as I see an image of the girls :-)
    It just adds to the eerieness....something completely missing from the cover on the right!