Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Wilder World of Books ~ Australia

Picnic at Hanging Rock ~ Joan Lindsay

To tick off Australia on my Life List goal to read a book from every country, I headed to my book shelf and selected this classic. I'd been meaning to read it for a while, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.

I had a rough start with Picnic at Hanging Rock, and it took me a while to get into the swing of it. This is probably due to the fact that I was also planning my wedding at the same time, so not really in the headspace to read about Australian schoolgirls in 1900. Nevertheless, I persevered. And what a treat this book turned out to be.

Two of my favourite things when reading fiction are to be completely transported to a place and/or time that is different to my own, and to come across characters that are complex, flawed, surprising, & fully fleshed. Picnic at Hanging Rock satisfied both of these desires. The book was funny in some parts and sad in others. It was original and shocking and romantic and spooky, and above all, it was mysterious. It didn't feel the need to explain itself. It is safe to say that I loved it.

Now I feel like I need to see Peter Weir's 1975 film version, basis for many an editorial photo shoot.

These were my favourite parts of the book ~

"'Look here, Albert...I hope you won't mind my saying so, but I wish you hadn't done that just now.'
'Done what, Mr Michael?'
'Whistled at those girls when they were going to jump over the creek.'
'It's a free country as far as I know. What's the harm in a whistle?'
'Only that you're such a good chap,' said the other, 'and nice girls don't like being whistled at by fellows they don't know.'"

"'Nobody,' said the old man, 'can be held responsible for the pranks of destiny.'"

"As always, in matters of surpassing human interest, those who knew nothing whatever either at first or even second hand were the most emphatic in expressing their opinions; which are well known to have a way of turning into established facts overnight."

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