Book #61: Picnic at Hanging Rock

Picnic at Hanging Rock is a mystery novel by Australian writer Joan Lindsay. I have not read many mysteries, so this was a new kind of experience. The novel is about the young ladies of Appleyard College, a boarding school in Australia. On St. Valentine’s day in the year 1900, they venture to Hanging Rock, a unique, naturally-formed stone formation, for a picnic. Four girls climb higher up on the rock to explore, and three of them are never seen again. If you like stories tied up neatly, you may not like this one. The emphasis of the story is less on explaining the disappearances and more about the ripple effects these disappearances have in the lives of those that remain at Appleyard College, the surrounding towns, and all Australia.┬áIt is well-written with interesting characters and a story that carries the reader along. Lindsay also provides an interesting exploration of the consequences of “civilized” British society imposing on the wild, mysterious Australian bush. Apparently, a cornerstone novel in Australian literature, it was an enjoyable book to read.

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