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The Flood by [Rankin, Ian]
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The Flood Kindle Edition

3.4 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Length: 276 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Amazon Review

Is it a comforting or precarious feeling, being the UK's number one best-selling male crime writer? Only Ian Rankin could answer that, but it's clear that the author is not content to rest on his laurels, and is always prepared to reinvigorate his excellent Inspector Rebus novels whenever a sense of déjà vu starts to creep in. And now we have Rankin's The Flood, a reissue of his first, unremarked novel. Was Rankin wise to sanction the re-release of this early book? After all, when we were given the chance to read again all the novels of Martin Cruz Smith had written before his groundbreaking Gorky Park, it was a sobering experience -- as the latter novel was a quantum leap in achievement beyond the previous books. Not so with The Flood: while this darkly disquieting novel caused ripples on its first publication, its reappearance after 20 years is something of a cause for celebration. Rankin began the novel as a 25-year-old student, and its publication by a small university publishing house (with a modest print run) escaped any critical attention. It took the atmospheric and gritty Rebus novels for us to see just how talented Rankin was, and it's a fascinating experience to re-encounter this tyro work.

The Flood is not a crime novel. Mary Miller is an alienated young woman. As a child, she had had an accident involving a flood of chemical discharges from the local coal mine -- she had survived, badly injured, but sympathy for her plight evaporated when the man who was responsible for the accident met his death in a mining accident shortly after. The pious community she lives in views her with superstitious dread. Time passes, and she gives birth to an illegitimate son, Sandy. Her unsatisfactory love affair with a teacher is going nowhere, and her son has started a relationship with a homeless girl. But both Sandy and his mother have to confront the past, and both find their lives will be changed by elemental forces -- notably the flood of the title.

As the above conveys, this is sombre stuff, but that won't put off Rankin aficionados, who look for the dark and disturbing in his work. While the book is (inevitably) not as fully achieved as his later work, there are many fascinating pre-echoes of the off-kilter psychology that is Rankin’s stock-in-trade, and any rough edges of the narrative are more than offset by the power of the already highly individual vision on offer here. --Barry Forshaw

Review

A must for lovers of Rankin (GOOD BOOK GUIDE)

Full of secrets and revelations, with an atmospheric sense of time and place, it has Rankin's signature darkness (CHOICE)

It wouldn't take a Rebus to sleuth out the telltale signs of a talent in the making (Chris Power THE TIMES)

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 496 KB
  • Print Length: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (18 Sept. 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002VBV1P4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #37,738 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Having now read a few of his Rebus novels, I picked this book up looking for something different by Ian Rankin. I wasn't disappointed.

The Flood is an unusual coming-of-age narrative that takes place in a small Scottish ex-mining community over two generations. It handles a range of themes including small town prejudice, alcholism, bigotry, incest, abuse, guilt and social isolation. It tracks two generations of a family from the 1970s to the present day as the social infrastructure of their surrounding community gradually disintegrates and self-destructs.

Mostly the narrative is taken from the view of a boy as he comes of age in a bigotted community that shuns his mother and questions his parenthood. This is a richly painted narrative full of sensitive insight and deep characterisation.

I won't say more - I found the novel moving and interesting. Although there is partial resolution at the end - one of the central mysteries is clarified - it does feel incomplete as if more is to come.

Nevertheless a very good read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In a dying Scottish coal-mining community, a single mother and her teenage son come to terms with a dark secret from her past. Despite many hallmarks of a novice (ludicrous similes, too many POV jumps and wanderings, ‘writerly’ descriptions, a couple of characters who dream of becoming writers, and a contrived melodramatic denouement) this debut (non detective) novel is an easy enough read and provides interesting insights into the roots of Rankin’s craft. It was chosen by a group I belong to. Maybe they will choose an Inspector Rebus book next to see how Rankin develops. I think I’ll need that spur before I’ll bother myself. I smiled at Rankin’s account in the introduction of his even earlier, unpublished opus: “The plot revolved around a one-legged schizophrenic librarian, a young boy with special powers, and the abduction of a famous American novelist by the ‘provisional wing’ of the Scottish National Party. Curiously, no one had seemed to agree with my judgement that it was a fully realised contender for the title of Great Scottish Novel.”
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Format: Paperback
This is the first of Rankin's novel and shows great promise. The story is dark and tense, the characters complex and the narrative engaging. The story is about finding one's place in the world and growing up. Superstition and suspense are well mixed to create a disturbing plot.

On the negative side, the plot felt forced at times and the novel itself could have been shortened; while reading the book, I often thought that omitting parts of it would have made it much better.

Overall, a good story with complex characters, nostaligic and dark.
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Format: Paperback
I really struggled through this book. The interesting parts were few and far between, the writing style was flawed and I just couldn't find anything positive about it. It should have been kept as a short story in my opinion.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have now read all the Ian Rankin books and this is the only one that I really did not enjoy. I found it confusing and the ending quite unsatisfactory and inconclusive.
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Format: Paperback
This edition of the first published novel of the later creator of Edinburgh police inspector John Rebus, is introduced by Rankin himself bemusedly, but highly interestingly, which surely adds value to the tale he now describes as a young man’s book. It is situated in 1969 and 1985 in a small coal mining town in Scotland’s Fife county endowed with plenty of mutual support in good times and bad. But also with stifling social control, gossip, superstition and exclusion of persons considered intolerably different (gypsies) or called witches. [Rankin ranks Fife as one of three counties with strong historical records of witch hunting and –burning].
Mary is 10 when some bigger lads push her into the drainage channel of the local mine’s coal washing plant, and almost drowns. Overnight her hair turns from black to silver white. Soon after, one of the lads is killed in a freak mining accident. From then on, Mary is shunned and considered a witch. She becomes pregnant at age 15 and has a son, Sandy, black-haired, bright in school, even making friends in the town where the mine has closed down, future prospects are dim and many people are bitter. The town assumes Mary’s older brother Tom, who left for Canada early in 1970, is the father. The plot thickens when Sandy (15) falls in love with gypsy girl Rian…
Readers and reading clubs (there is an Annex with discussion points) are on their own now. But not without some final comments. It is a family history, sometimes quite harsh on the “culture of poverty” of miners and the unemployed. A bleak intimation of Rankin’s later work, with its youth gangs, drunken Saturdays, poor health and dysfunctional families and individuals and his love of Scotland. Also, with so many allusions to Scripture, it is easily Ian Rankin’s most spiritual, “religious” novel.
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Format: Paperback
I've always enjoyed Ian Rankin's books but this one didn't work for me. It is the first book he wrote and it shows. Originally intended as a short story, it grew into a full length novel. Rankin is still finding his style and his style is quite immature in places. He covers a lot of social history in a dour style. In places the story moves very slowly and several times I nearly gave up. I found the story a bit disjointed and the ending unsatisfactory. The overal verdict was this wasn't worth reading and I should have given up...
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