Picnic at Hanging Rock (Anglais) CD – 20 août 2012
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Description du produit
Revue de presse
"Written in a beautifully haunting style that drew me in." (Esther McKay Sun Herald (Australia))
"A sinister tale...laced with touches of other-worldliness" (Guardian) --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.
Présentation de l'éditeur
It was a cloudless summer day in the year nineteen hundred.
Everyone at Appleyard College for Young Ladies agreed it was just right for a picnic at Hanging Rock. After lunch, a group of three of the girls climbed into the blaze of the afternoon sun, pressing on through the scrub into the shadows of Hanging Rock. Further, higher, till at last they disappeared.
They never returned.
Whether Picnic at Hanging Rock is fact or fiction the reader must decide for themselves.--Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.
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However, there are certainly many things to like about the book, not the least of which is its cheerful and artless "Australianness." The narrative voice has a very tongue-in-cheek tone that, funnily enough, reminds me of no other book so much as Miles Franklin's MY BRILLIANT CAREER, another Australian classic set in a similar era. Something that I was not expecting from Lindsay's book was the fact that it is quite often laugh-aloud funny, at least in the beginning. The story has the feel of a typical girls' boarding school tale in the English style, yet with a strong vein of irreverence that marks it as undeniably Australian.
It is also very difficult to dislike virtually any of the personable characters in this book. Luckily, while it seems at first glance that the reader is dealing with an indistinguishable gaggle of young ladies, governesses, young men, and a few older persons, they quickly and apparently effortlessly sort themselves out into distinct personalities. With its characteristic hint of levity, for example, we are told that: "Reputed to have mastered Long Division in the cradle, Marion Quade had spent the greater part of her seventeen years in the relentless pursuit of knowledge. Small wonder that with her thin intelligent features, sensitive nose that appeared to be always on the scent of something long awaited and sought, and thin swift legs, she had come to resemble a greyhound." PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK is also a particularly egalitarian book, in which servants may not quite be treated as equals by their employers, but are certainly treated well. The story itself often privileges the wits, talents, and pragmatism of the servants over their masters'.
The atmospheric impact of this book cannot be overstated. Its sense of place and the mood imposed irresistibly by the natural environment are among its very strongest attributes, so that the scene cannot only be pictured but heard, smelled, touched, and tasted as well. This is just one example of many beautiful natural descriptions: "Leaves, flowers and grasses glowed and trembled under the canopy of light; cloud shadows gave way to golden motes dancing above the pool where water beetles skimmed and darted."
Once the story takes its chilling turn, however, it becomes apparent that these schoolgirls are completely artificial in the natural world of the Hanging Rock: "Insulated from natural contacts with earth, air and sunlight, by corsets pressing on the solar plexus, by voluminous petticoats, cotton stockings and kid boots, the drowsy well-fed girls lounging in the shade were no more a part of their environment than figures in a photograph album, arbitrarily posed against a backcloth of cork rocks and cardboard trees." Is this why the environment itself seems to turn on them, perhaps even consume them?
Throughout the story, the Rock is a solid, ominous, mysterious presence, in the foreground as often as it is in the background. Whether being viewed, talked about, or just thought about, it is always there. In this entirely unique book, it may even be true to say that the central "character" is this inanimate monolith: "The shadow of the Rock lay with an almost physical weight upon their hearts. The thing was beyond words; almost beyond emotion."
After the disappearance of the four women, PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK uses vagueness and foreshadowing statements to the greatest effect in creating a mood of ominous, possibly even supernatural, intrigue and suspense. In an odd way, the various men investigating the girls' disappearance in their various ways all seem to highlight the mystery that women in general constitute for men. There is a strong current of "otherness" throughout the book, whether it be the prim young ladies juxtaposed against the natural environment or the eternal divide between men and women.
When it reaches its height of suspense and horror, the narrative is at its most evocative: "To take a sword and plunge it through your enemy's vitals in broad daylight is a matter of physical courage, whereas the strangling of an invisible foe in the dark calls for quite other qualities." Perhaps this, along with the book's many other attributes, is enough. Just don't expect to come out of PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK with any fewer questions than you had when you entered its pages.
I loved the movie more for the visuals, but the book was very interesting to read. I am frustrated in that I cannot posit a theory as to what actually happened at Picnic Rock. Were the girls murdered, were they killed in an accident, did they become lost and therefore, unable to survive the brutal heat of the Australian outback and various predators that lurk there? There is no answer and therefore, the book becomes an exercise in frustration. I do recommend it, for people who love to read mysteries.
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