- Age Range: 12 and up
- Grade Level: 7 - 9
- Lexile Measure: 720L (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 160 pages
- Publisher: Candlewick; Reprint edition (August 6, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0763663999
- ISBN-13: 978-0763663995
- Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,318,327 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Golden Day Hardcover – August 6, 2013
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*Starred Review* The classic Australian film Picnic at Hanging Rock finds its literary equivalent in fellow Aussie Dubosarsky’s dark, languid look into the inscrutable wells of secrecy to be found in little girls. In the shadow of the Vietnam War, 11 bored Australian schoolgirls are taken on a short field trip to the local gardens by their idealistic teacher. Together with the teacher’s apparent paramour, the girls are led to a seaside cave wherein the two adults vanish forever. When the girls are repeatedly questioned about the disappearance, their own self-interest compels them to stay silent and senselessly guard the truth, until the keeping of the secret, not the secret itself, becomes the most important thing. In a stunning feat of perspective, Dubosarsky inhabits all 11 girls at once, snaking through a thousand small joys and triumphs and fears and petty grudges as they absorb life’s bleakest truths as well as their own complicity in them: “Their eyes were clear but their hearts were dishonest.” Reminiscent of Janne Teller’s Nothing (2010), this is a masterful look at children’s numb surprise to the most unsavory of adult developments. Though it’s not really a surprise, is it? They knew all along that the world was full of terrible things. Grades 7-12. --Daniel Kraus
Dubosarsky’s spare prose explores the space between innocence and adulthood. Shaped by the girls’ growing awareness of the world, her scenes are uneasy dreamscapes. Questions about responsibility, violence, sex, fear and death bloom beneath their placed surface. Unanswerable, they linger past the end of this slender but powerful volume.
—The New York Times
In a stunning feat of perspective, Dubosarsky inhabits all 11 girls at once, snaking through a thousand small joys and triumphs and fears and petty grudges as they absorb life’s bleakest truths as well their own complicity in them... [T]his is a masterful look at children’s numb surprise to the most unsavory of adult developments.
—Booklist (starred review)
Laced with humor amid a steady feeling of dread, the atmospheric narrative chillingly evokes lurking forces capable of tarnishing even the most golden and innocent of days.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Through precise, vivid descriptions, the third-person narrative evokes the contrast between the girls’ cloistered school lives and the hard realities of the outside world. ... Read this slender mystery for the meticulous prose and characterization...
Chilling, elegant, atmospheric... Ms. Dubosarsky deftly conveys the confusion of childhood, the strangeness of things half-glimpsed and only partly understood. With quiet brilliance she evokes the distinct personalities of the classmates... "The Golden Day" is the sort of book that churns something up deep inside the reader; it will be as hard for an adult to forget as the young people ages 12 and older for whom it is intended.
—The Wall Street Journal
The Golden Day is deeply magical but also painfully real.
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The vast majority of the story takes place at a private school for girls in Sydney, Australia during 1967 while the Vietnam War was going on. Our story concerns the teacher, Miss Renshaw, and the eleven girls in her elementary class named Cubby, Icara, Martine, Bethany, Georgina, Cynthia, Dierdre, Elizabeth, Elizabeth, Elizabeth, and Elizabeth. The four Elizabeths are given no last names, and only differentiated by physical characteristics as height and hair style.
It seems that Ms. Renshaw has more than a passing interest in Morgan, the groundskeeper at the Ena Thompson Memorial Gardens where she regularly takes the girls on nature trips. She makes the girls complicit in her romantic diversions by telling them, "We won't mention these meetings with Morgan or other stuff will we girls...We won't mention Morgan." [p19] But the girls were a lot smarter than Miss Renshaw gave them credit for, as "They all knew...the real reason Miss Renshaw want to go out into the gardens that morning. It was not to think about death. Miss Renshaw wanted to see Morgan."
Soon after Miss Renshaw takes her class, with Morgan leading them, to some nearby Aboriginal caves supposedly to see the cave drawings at which time she and Morgan vanish. Yet as the girls pledged not to reveal anything about Morgan, they can't fully tell what happens to the authorities. The rest of the book is about just what happened and how it affects each of their lives.
The book is a close copy of an earlier book along very similar lines which was originally released by another Australian author Joan W. Lindsay in 1967 and was called PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK Picnic at Hanging Rock after which a 1975 movie also titled Picnic at Hanging Rock (The Criterion Collection) by Peter Weir was made. The only major plot difference between those two items and the current story is that in the PICNIC version the story takes place on Valentines Day of 1900 and two girls plus a teacher go missing. That book and the movie are also highly recommended.
Later in this story the girls get into a lively discussion about whether ghosts really exist, and if they do, can they live outdoors or must they be confined to interiors. The relevance of this doesn't become important until near the end of the book, so I won't spoil it for you, but do pay attention to who says what about it. Here it differs from the PICNIC book version.
The current story is very well told with a somewhat feminine and romantic writing style that imparts enough mystery to attract adults interested in some good clean scary storytelling. Highly recommended.
teacher's secret when she disappears on a field trip, but did she really disappear? She may have
eloped with the gardener, or been murdered. Maybe she returns years later on Remembrance Day,
or maybe not.
While this book invokes the misty edges of fairy land, it is in no way a child's story. In fact it is the story of the slow emergence of the woman from a child. One can read the prose at its lovely surface presentation, or be drawn to the darker symbolism of life emerging from the end of other realities. The escape from the dark, primal cave itself has marked the little girls forever, and that symbolism remains universal in the world's symbolism. In a difficult task, the author successfully portrays very young girls in distinct and dimensional terms. The first part of this book returns us seamlessly to that time when reality is clearly distinct from the world of adults, and their actions are clouded in in their own purpose. This book is a little pearl of that time, set in the that magical world of the continent that seems to hold some extra charge.
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This story is set in Sydney,Australia in 1967.Read more