17 October 2017

Today's Read & Giveaway: Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay

Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan LindsayImagine you're on a school outing, exploring some famous rock formations with three friends a teacher. When you return to the picnic grounds, however, you are all alone with no recollection of what happened to your companions. Murder, accident, or abduction? Will anyone ever discover the truth?

Everyone agreed that the day was just right for the picnic to Hanging Rock--a shimmering summer morning warm and still, with cicadas shrilling all through breakfast from the loquat trees outside the dining-room windows and bees murmuring above the pansies bordering the drive. Heavy-headed dahlias flamed and drooped in the immaculate flowerbeds, the well-trimmed lawns steamed under the mounting sun. Already the gardener was watering the hydrangeas still shaded by the kitchen wing at the rear of the College. The boarders at Mrs Appleyard's College for Young Ladies had been up and scanning the bright unclouded sky since six o'clock and were now fluttering about in the holiday muslins like a flock of excited butterflies. Not only was it a Saturday and the long awaited occasion of the annual picnic, but Saint Valentine's Day, traditionally celebrated on the fourteenth of February by the interchange of elaborate cards and favours. All were madly romantic and strictly anonymous--supposedly the silent tributes of lovesick admirers; although Mr Whitehead the elderly English gardener and Tom the Irish groom were almost the only two males to be so much as smiled at during the term.
Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay (Penguin Classics, 2017, p. 1)

Quick Facts
  • Setting: 1900, Mount Macedon area, Victoria, Australia
  • Circumstances: On a school outing, three girls and a teacher disappear without a trace while hiking at Hanging Rock. Several people enter a dreamlike state after ascending the rocks, and other members of the school community are forever changed by the events of that February day. The search for the missing women and the mystery of what happened consumes the bulk of the novel.
  • Genre: mystery, classic
  • Things to know: The book is written in a way that makes readers wonder if the events described are based on fact or fiction (the author adds the note: "Whether Picnic at Hanging Rock is fact or fiction, my readers must decide for themselves"). A movie based on the book was released in 1975, and a television mini-series is supposed to air this year, on the 50th anniversary of the book's publication.
  • Hanging Rock culture: Fans of the book are said to visit the Hanging Rock area, where they search for landmarks mentioned in the novel. Even the visitor center is supposed to perpetuate the story of the missing girls and, in particular, of Miranda, one of the students who vanished into the rocks. Other groups have protested that the significance of Hanging Rock to Aborigine history has been overshadowed by the book and are working hard to restore the truth.
  • The missing chapter: According to several websites, Lindsay's editor decided to cut the original final chapter, which is supposed to present a different perspective on what happened at Hanging Rock. That chapter was later published as a standalone, after the author's death.
The Giveaway

Thanks to the nice people at Penguin Books, I can offer one of my readers a copy of the Penguin Classic, 50th Anniversary edition of Joan Lindsay's Picnic at Hanging Rock. All you have to do to be entered for a chance to win is to have a USA mailing address and fill out the following form. I'll pick a winner via a random number generator on October 24. Once the winner has been confirmed, I'll delete all personal information from my computer. Good luck.


Tina 10/17/17, 6:35 AM  

I have not read this book but would like too!

Harvee 10/17/17, 8:22 AM  

Reminds me of a book about a disappearance at Ayers Rock, Australia. Saw the movie too.

Daryl 10/17/17, 8:51 AM  

wasnt Hanging Rock based on the actual disappearances at Ayers Rock? OR are both fiction .. going to google

Kym 10/17/17, 9:17 AM  

I haven't heard of this one, but it sounds good. I love a good mystery! Here's my Teaser/Intro for this week: http://bit.ly/2ywjIMT

Catherine @ Book Club Librarian 10/17/17, 9:21 AM  

The plot summary drew me in. Can't believe I never heard of it...thank goodness for anniversary issues!

Laurel-Rain Snow 10/17/17, 10:49 AM  

I am always drawn to books about mysteriously missing people, especially those never found. Thanks for sharing...and here's mine: “LIE TO ME”

Alice Audrey 10/17/17, 11:31 AM  

Is this a classic? It's new to me.

Vicki 10/17/17, 11:34 AM  

I don't read many historical fiction, but this sounds really good. And I love that it mentions a loquat tree. I love loquats!

Cleopatra Loves Books 10/17/17, 2:38 PM  

Love the sound of this one, especially the setting

Anonymous,  10/17/17, 2:56 PM  

I've seen the film of this book, but never read it. The writing is clearly good though - thank you for sharing. My TT - it's another interesting read... My TT - https://sjhigbee.wordpress.com/2017/10/17/teaser-tuesday-17th-october-2017/

Unknown 10/17/17, 3:22 PM  

I'd love to read this. I'm going to go add it to my list. I enjoy a good mystery.

My TT from The Death Doll

Brona 10/17/17, 5:41 PM  

The lucky winner could read this for #AusReadingMonth in November - it's one of my personal favourites :-)


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 10/17/17, 7:25 PM  

I received a copy of this one, and, I do like that intro. Weird but, I had never heard of this book before.

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