The classic novel about the disappearance of three boarding school girls that inspired the acclaimed film
It was a cloudless summer day in the year 1900. 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 the secluded volcanic outcropping. Farther, higher, until at last they disappeared. They never returned. . . .
Mysterious and subtly erotic, Picnic at Hanging Rock inspired the iconic 1975 film of the same name by Peter Weir. A beguiling landmark of Australian literature, it stands with Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, and Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Virgin Suicides as a masterpiece of haunting intrigue.
Joan Lindsay was born Joan à Beckett Weigall in Melbourne, Australia, in 1896. She attended Clyde Girls Grammar School, the model for Appleyard College in Picnic at Hanging Rock, and the National Gallery of Victoria Art School, where she studied… More about Joan Lindsay
“Pure magic. Every fashion film and NYU undergraduate thesis takes its cues from this lyrical masterpiece. In college I tried to make a satirical remake entitled Lunchtime at Dangling Boulder, but all my actors slept too late.” —Lena Dunham, on the film adaptation
“[From the] Victorian hothouse atmosphere and fetishism . . . and its focus on the burgeoning sexual curiosity of the girls (and the women) . . . to Gothic terrors, supernatural wonder, divine mysticism, or the imperialist unconscious . . . Picnic actively encourages a host of fantasies.” —Megan Abbott, author of You Will Know Me,The Fever, and Dare Me, in an essay for The Criterion Collection’s Blu-ray/DVD edition of the film
“A sinister tale . . . laced with touches of other-worldliness” —The Guardian
“Deliciously horrific.” —The Observer
“The fact that most people believed that this palpable fiction was a record of a real event is not merely a tribute to the writer . . . but a testimony to the atavistic power of its theme.” —The Spectator
“Beautifully haunting.” —The Sun Herald (Australia)