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 happened to these girls, and I really wanted to reach the end But, I found the process of investigations and the end unsatisfactory That s why I gave it 3 stars. 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 characters being good looking and fit and the bad characters being overweight and ugly It has happened before in literature, but it is offensive to a degree Sad to see this was written by a woman Also, did I say I was bored The girls went missing early on and things just went on and on and on like the EverReady bunny I kept thinking it was going to get better Hoping it would be something like The Ruins but sadly, it didn t I don t mind that the Author never told us what happened to the girls That is one thing that I liked But there seemed to be a lot of other things going on in the book that dulled down the story.I think it is safe to say that this was not the book for me It is very rare for me to give a rating lower than a 3 but I just had difficulty getting into this book I finished it because I wanted to complete a challenge but overall I just wasn t interested I know I am in the minority on this one, most have given it much higher reviews but it was a struggle for me.See of my reviews at www.openbookpost.com An Alternative Cover Edition For This ISBN Can Be Found HereWhile Joan Lindsay S Haunting Australian Classic Picnic At Hanging Rock Is A Work Of Fiction, The Story Is Often Considered One Of Australia S Greatest MysteriesIn , 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 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 Penguin re printed it in the States I rushed out and bought a copy.If I ever get a chance to visit Australia, I would love to see the formation in person.Also, try and read this book in one sitting. 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 again, for me, lacked finality, but that what the story was all about I noticed that just like The Harp in the South, this was another short classic.Historical fiction and I just don t gel, but I did like it enough. 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. 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 is, however, a geological marvel on which you will be required to write a brief essay on Monday morning I also wish to remind you that the vicinity is renowned for its venomous snakes an poisonous ants of various speciesIn 1900, a pleasant outing for a local girls school turns tragic when three of the participants never return from the tripeven the lowest and most accessible levels of the Rock are exceedingly treacherous, especially for girls in long summer dressesThis set up is great what a terrific sense of dread and forebodingA knowledge of arithmetic don t help much in the BushI m rubbing my hands together with glee, thinking of how great it s going to be when the shit hits the fan, and then fizzle The girls are missed by their friends, a would be rescuer pines over the exquisite beauty of one of the missing girls, and the school s owner frets about declining enrollment for the coming semester Of course, this isn t America there s no talk of lawsuits but I expected of a fuss There are just too many characters with too many backstories, which only served to dilute any possible drama or suspense The delicious anticipation of the trip to the Rock was much interesting than anything that happened later This was a damned good line, thoughNobody, said the old man, can be held responsible for the pranks of destiny 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, and started exploring relationships with characters, that I feel, had no real role in the story, especially not if one wants to find out what happened at hanging rock.As I dragged myself painfully to the end of this book, I realised I didn t really care what any of the answers to the questions were I was hoping to love this book, but it was just a tedious disappointment. 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 wonderful group The BookBum Club Unfortunately, the result left me disappointed Mrs Appleyard is the formidable headmistress of a school for girls of the upper classes in Australia They are taught how to behave and how NOT to think in order to become good wives This should be their only aspiration in life During a picnic on St.Valentine s day, three senior students, Miranda, Irma, and Marion are lost So is one of the teachers They disappear in the area of the Hanging Rock, a place where mystery and wild beauty co exist What happened to the girls What is happening in the school Why such severity and absolute lack of compassion What secrets does Mrs Appleyard hide There are moments of breathtaking beauty in this novel The descriptions of the natural environment, the nightly scenes dedicated to the characters actions are absolutely fascinating However, the dialogue leaves a lot to be desired, in my opinion My main complaint is the lack of development of any kind There was no development in the characters which is a pity since most of them surely hide quite a lot of secrets From the teachers to the students, the claustrophobic environment that exists side by side with the beautiful, threatening, unruly nature provided a unique setting that I felt was wasted in endless descriptions of the life of the two young men of the story that were completely useless No wonder that I enjoyed the film and TV versions so much than the novel It s such a pity, really There was so much potential and at times, the writing was remarkable Like a mist and a storm However, upon reading the last page, I was underwhelmed and disappointed 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 which has been explored by countless writers and filmmakers This novel by Joan Lindsay is an outstanding example of one such exploration.Hanging Rock is a natural volcanic rock formation in Australia near Melbourne As the story starts, a group of young girls, boarders at Mrs Appleyard s College for Young Ladies, is excitedly starting for their annual picnic near it, on February 14, St Valentine s Day There is Miranda, beautiful like a Botticelli painting Irma Leopold, the pretty heiress Marion Quade, top academic performer Edith Horton, the college dunce and many others They are chaperoned by the young and impressionable Mademoiselle Dianne de Poitiers, the French mistress and the mathematics mistress Greta McCraw who lives virtually in a world of equations They are driven to the spot by Ben Hussey, the owner of the town s livery stables, in his trap The only student left behind is Sara Waybourne, the youngest boarder as a punishment for not learning The Wreck of the Hesperus by heart.The picnic goes well until teatime, when Miranda, Irma and Marion decide to go closer to the Hanging Rock to properly examine it Edith tags along They are seen by the young Hon Michael Fitzhubert, visiting from England with his uncle and his coachman Albert Crundall Fitzhubert, captivated by Miranda s beauty, follows them for a bit then turns back That is the last anyone sees of them, however because all except Edith, who rushes back in an attack of hysteria, disappear without a trace as does the mathematics mistress The mystery is never solved.The novel is the chronicle of the fallout from this event how the lives of all the people connected with it, even the minor characters, are inextricably changed At the outset, the author writes Whether Picnic at Hanging Rock is fact or fiction, my readers must decide for themselves As the fateful picnic took place in the year 1900, and all the characters who appear in this book are long since dead, it hardly seems important.This is the tone set right at the beginning that of the true story with quotes from letters and reports peppered throughout the narrative, and even footnotes in some places In many places the writing becomes reportage in others, it reads like an inexpert author trying to fictionalise historical characters and events It is only when we realise that none of this happened that we come to appreciate what Joan Lindsay is trying to do and we acknowledge her mastery of the medium.If whether something really happened seems hardly important , what does it say about the nature of the story Is truth important here, or is there a truth beyond the phenomenal world which we consider rock solid As the story progresses, people s behaviour becomes increasingly eccentric The college, a solid bastion of English respectability in the middle of wild Australia, slowly unravels as does the redoubtable headmistress Appleyard The tension between her and the orphan Sara whom she subjects to mental torture mercilessly is like a taut elastic band which is stretched and stretched until it breaks with disastrous results It is also to be noted that Sara idolises Miranda, who is almost a myth, an ethereal vision which fittingly disappears.But the real protagonist of the story is Hanging Rock, the volcanic formation which is millions and millions of years old, standing ominously tall above all the puny humans crawling around like ants at its base ephemeral beings whose unimaginably tiny lifetimes it must have surely smiled at, mockingly.The plain below was just visible infinitely vague and distant Peering down between the boulders Irma could see the glint of water and tiny figures coming and going through drifts of rosy smoke, or mist Whatever can those people be doing down there like a lot of ants Marion looked out over her shoulder A surprising number of human beings are without purpose Although it s probable, of course, that they are performing some necessary function unknown to themselves The elemental power of the Australian landscape here is what is drawing the girls out of their so very English cocoons Throughout the narrative, this rough land calls out to us in a thousand tongues through the hissing of snakes, the chirping of birds, the scurrying of lizards, the wind through the trees and through the silent and impressive presence of Hanging Rock It finally succeeds in drawing even the stolid Mrs Appleyard out.And now, at last, after a lifetime of linoleum and asphalt and Axminster carpets, the heavy flat footed woman trod the springing earth Born fifty seven years ago in a suburban wilderness of smoke grimed bricks, she knew no of nature than a scarecrow rigid on a broomstick above a field of waving corn She who had lived so close to the little forest on the Bendigo Road had never felt the short wiry grass underfoot Never walked between the straight shaggy stems of the stingybark trees Never paused to savour the jubilant gustsof spring that carried the scent of wattle and eucalypt right into the front hall of the college Nor sniffed with foreboding the blast of the north wind, laden in summer with the fine ash of mountain firesNature, in all her raw and pristine glory nature, come to extract her price from civilisation.