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The Flood by Ian Rankin

The Flood (1986)

by Ian Rankin

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Title:The Flood
Authors:Ian Rankin
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The Flood by Ian Rankin (1986)



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I love reading first novels. They are usually the ones the author has toiled on for years, honed, sent out with the biggest chunk of the Writer's heart. Ian Rankin's first novel "the Flood" is well worth a read. In this reprinting, issued after the author's phenomenal success as a mystery writer, you can see the bones of the confident author to come.
It's a story of prejudice and secrets and moods and not truly a mystery (but whoever said mystery writers can only write mysteries?), but more a tale of the evils men and women do in a small town. It starts off slowly, but I couldn't put it down right away and I got sucked in more and more as I read. Rankin's world is dark, with little redemption. Characters survive.
But it's all completely lovely and will stay with me a long time, destined for my collection of first novels. Read it. It will give you a view of how it all began. ( )
  Dabble58 | May 26, 2014 |

This is the first book Ian Rankin wrote. There isn't really a mystery here - it's just a story of adolescence and twisted family dynamics in small-town Fife, with both long-buried and more recent sexual secrets taking their toll on those who have to keep them. I actually found the resolution a bit too easy, but the rest of it shows a great story-teller in the making. ( )
  nwhyte | Oct 28, 2013 |
It is a simply story about a mother and her boy written by Rankin about a mining town where coal pits die, leaving the town on brink of unemployment. It is story of a family how it is impacted. There is a mystery at the center of the book but you can guess when part two ends.

This was Ian Rankin's first published novel, before he began his Inspector Rebus series. ( )
  poonamsharma | Apr 6, 2013 |
My second Ian Rankin, I read one of the Rebus books years ago (in fact I have the complete set in the U.K. waiting to be read). This is not a Rebus book, but one of his earlier works.

Mary is left with a permanent reminder of being pushed into the hot burn, her hair went silver over night. Despite being the victim of a bully's attack, sympathy turns to suspicion when the boy dies in the mines later. Mary is tarred with the same brush as her mother, coming from a line of traditional healers, they are thought to be witches. In a small mining town, Carsden, which is slowly decaying, people hold on to prejudice. Mary falls pregnant as a teenager, father unknown, though believed to be her brother, adding fuel to gossip's fire.

The action then jumps forward, with her son Sandy aged 15. Sandy, a gifted writer, has a few friends, but is becoming more and more drawn to other outsiders, Robert and Rian from the local gypsy camp. The unspoken past is driving a wedge between mother and son. With such darkness right from the start, a darkness that is all too realistic, you can't help but despair of a dark ending.

Carsden is like many depressed Fife towns, no work, no prospects, the young folk leaving as soon as they can for the cities, Rankin captures the time and feeling perfectly. Mary and Sandy have to deal with local prejudice, as the new minister says, Mary "had been the perfect brunt". Fife has a long tradition of burning witches, I remember that from going to school in St. Andrews where witches were thrown into the sea, if they sank they were innocence, but if they floated, they were hauled back up and burnt at the stake.

I don't often get to read books set in the area around where I went to school, especially not one which shows this side of Fife life. Small town superstition mixed with the harsh reality of unemployment, Rankin brings many elements together which make up this gripping read. ( )
  soffitta1 | Aug 15, 2011 |
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Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can the floods drown it.
 - Song of Songs
All one's inventions are true.
- Flaubert
For my father and mother
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When Mary Miller was ten years old and not yet a witch, and Carsden was still a thriving mining village, she would watch her brother Tom playing football in the park with his friends.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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This is Ian Rankin's first ever novel, now re-published with a brand-new introduction. 'The Flood' is both a coming-of-age novel and an amazing portrait of a time and place.

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