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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4 out of 5 stars
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on 8 October 2008
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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on 29 February 2016
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 I smiled at Rankin’s account in the introduction of his even earlier, unpublished opus: “The plot revolved around a one-legged schizophrenic librarian, a young boy with special powers, and the abduction of a famous American novelist by the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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on 31 January 2010
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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on 30 May 2015
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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on 22 April 2013
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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on 22 October 2014
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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on 17 December 2015
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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on 15 April 2014
slow! slow! slow! gave up in the end 2/3 of the way through the book kept on thinking some thing might happen.
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on 13 April 2013
The Flood Considering that this is the authors first book he was clearly cut out to be a great writer. I enjoyed every minute of it and, despite his claim that it was 'a young man's book' but as 'an old lady' I found it to be far from it. It's a pity I'll never be able to afford a first edition of this work. Postscript: I have indeed managed to aquire this rarest of all Rankin books in perfect condition (and signed of course). The sweating, the sacrifices I made to negotiate this purchase as a private sale from a former collector was well worth the effort.
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on 11 April 2013
Well pleased with this download. Read it twice while out in Africa.. I am pleasently suprised as i normally only read books and this kindle book is some thing new to me.
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