"One of Britain's leading novelists in any genre"
Mary Miller has always been an outcast. As a young girl she had fallen into the hot burn—a torrent of warm chemical run-off from the local coal mine. Fished out white-haired and half-dead, she was initially treated with sympathy. But all that changed when the young man who pushed her in died in an accident down the mines just two days later. From then on she was regarded with a mixture of suspicion and fascination by her God-fearing community.
Now, many years later she is hardly less alone. She is the mother of a bastard son, Sandy, and caught up in a faltering affair with a local schoolteacher. Sandy, meanwhile, has fallen in love with a strange homeless girl. But the search for happiness isn't easy. Both mother and son are gradually being forced to come to terms with the past and a dark secret from Mary's childhood. All this in the growing knowledge that their small dramas are being played out against a much larger canvas, glimpsed only in symbols and flickering images—of decay and regrowth, of fire and water—of the flood.
The Flood is both a coming-of-age novel and an amazing portrait of a time and place. Proto-Rankin as it is, it's dark, atmospheric and powerful—a remarkable debut from a remarkable author . . .
"No one writes more gripping stories than Rankin"
—Times Literary Supplement
"Arguable Scotland's finest living writer"
"Rankin is a master of his craft"
—Independent On Sunday