Feeling guilty about not reading enough Australia or female authors, I picked up Picnic at Hanging Rock, by Joan Lindsay. My only knowledge of this book is the shrill screaming of “Miranda!” from poor renditions and drama eisteddfods.
I didn’t like this book. The descriptions of the landscape didn’t arouse any sense of pride in my country. There we many unnecessary details of characters that I didn’t need to know. The plot was strong to begin with but then had unnecessary twists and turns added in; a short love story, a random fire, marriages, a growing mateship. It was as though the author was so set on not writing a short story that she filled it up with a lot of nonsense.
This book epitomised why I don’t enjoy female authors. Too much predictable and excessive emotion, too complex a story, too many themes, just too complicated.
I watched the film (circa 1970) afterwards. It was far better. It cut out all the surplus events, and just focused on the simple mystery, which is why this book is famous (in Australia). This is one of the few times I will recommend a film over a book.