Picnic at Hanging Rock -Joan Lindsay

classics, mystery


To the next person who reads this book:

Picnic at Hanging Rock, set in Bendigo, Victoria, is a mysterious, haunting story that has many moments that are chilling.

Four girls from a prestigious English boarding school in the Australian bush in the 1900’s go missing from a school picnic at Hanging Rock.

Hanging Rock is vividly described – yet perhaps better is the detail Lindsay doesn’t provide. The uncertainty and mystery around the rock makes it seem the same in nature as some of the deepest, most unfathomable places in the ocean – unexplored.

We never gain any explanation as to what becomes of Miranda, with ‘corn starch’ hair, who is lovely as a white swan (the white swan becomes a symbol for her ghost, or memory) or Miranda Quade, bookish and factual. Irma Leopold, an heiress, is found, but everyone who has contact with the rock seem strangely to be unable to recall certain details or whole events that unfold on or around it.

This story depicts how the disappearance of the girls at Hanging Rock devastates the many lives that were touched by this single event. Lindsay trails the characters linked to that day, and we see, that the disaster of the rock reaches much further than the geographical space the rock inhabits itself. The disappearance ripples forth with invisible ways of horror into the community.

The charming depictions of the Australian bush, the rock, the boarding house and the story’s characters  make for a compelling read, and creates images that return to the readers mind long after the story is finished.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★





The Secret History – Donna Tartt


Source: Amazon


To the next person who reads this book:

Set on an American college campus, this novel is about the lead up to, and aftermath of committing murder. Tartt focuses on the moral question of planning to kill someone and then going through with it. More than that, this novel explores the darker side of deciding to kill someone who is a friend.

Richard is something of an unreliable narrator – he is a compulsive liar. Driven by the desire to escape the dreary, suburban life of his childhood home, Richard enrolls at New England College because he likes the picture on the brochure.

There, he meets five very clever students who take small classes with a professor who calls what they are doing play rather than work. Studying Greek classics, they exist in a world of their own, ideologically separate from the ‘real’ or current world the novel is set in.

Henry is a genius. There is a lovely depth to Camilla’s character, she is intelligent, but not without a kind ‘softness’. Bunny is a ‘good sport’ often loud and rude, though not unlikable. Charles is somewhat unpredictable but open, and kind. Francis is rich and irritable at times.

These characters do not listen to the news, nor do they watch TV, they are almost completely out of touch with current events, and modernity.

They are described, by others, as occult-like and near frightening. This adds further to the mystery of their lives.

I still have questions about the motives of these characters, and I have read it a countless amount of times.

I ask myself why I care so much about these characters, when they are killers. But this is the point of the book: it asks us a moral question about murder.

Brilliant and completely immersive, I was absorbed from the starting point:

Does such a thing as “the fatal flaw,” that showy dark crack running down the middle of a life, exist outside of literature? I used to think it didn’t. Now I think it does. And I think that mine is this: a morbid longing for the picturesque at all costs.