Review - Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay

This book went places I wasn’t necessarily expecting.

It all starts out nicely enough - a group of school girls and their teachers go on a Valentine’s Day picnic luncheon at Hanging Rock. The young ladies are dressed in their white frocks and gloves, it is 1900 after all. I knew that the story was a mystery, and so I was not surprised when several of the students, and one teacher, were discovered missing when the party was packing up to leave.

What I was not expecting was that this novel also has an element of horror/thriller. And the end is… very weird. I’m not sure that I can talk much about it without ruining the experience!

Picnic at Hanging Rock is deftly written. The characters are sketched out quickly, but so well that they don’t feel at all two dimensional. The settings, both the school and the Australian bush are vivid, especially the contrasts between them. The bush feels like a character all of its own, with history and agency. I am now quite keen to watch the screen adaptation, because I am so curious to see how the feel of this story has been translated.


Picnic at Hanging Rock was featured in the February 2019 Classic parcel from the NovelTea Book Club. If you’d like to learn more, or sign up to receive one of our monthly book & tea subscription parcels, please feel free to check out the rest of our website.


Review - Going Solo by Roald Dahl

Going Solo is the continuation of Roald Dahl’s memoir, picking up around about where Boy left off. Dahl relates stories from his time working for Shell in Africa and later as a fighter pilot in WWII. This book is packed with adventure and fantastical-sounding tales!

I love Roald Dahl’s fiction - his wit and imagination filled my childhood with absolute delight. I even memorised his take on Cinderella from Revolting Rhymes: “I bet you think you know this story. You don’t, the real one’s much more gory…” So it’s no surprise that I also enjoyed Going Solo. Written with the same wit (and maybe a little of the same imagination?), the nostalgia was strong.

It’s interesting though, to read this book with the perspective of the 21st century. I couldn’t help but narrow my eyes at some of Dahl’s tales, and at the way he described life, particularly in Africa. Dahl is a product of the English colonial attitudes of the time, and reading about his interactions with African people gave me pause to reflect on what has changed, and what has not.

All in all, this was an enjoyable adventure to read, and a perfect start to the new year.


Going Solo was featured in the January 2019 Classic parcel from the NovelTea Book Club. If you’d like to learn more, or sign up to receive one of our monthly book & tea subscription parcels, please feel free to check out the rest of the website.