The Flood

Monday 4 June 2007
by  Adrien R
popularity : 3%

This book by I.A. Rankin was actually a short story until he added enough to it and turned it into a novel. Don’t be put off by the lack of apparent connection between the title and the story itself, as this book hides deeper things than what appears on the surface. This story takes place in a mining village in Ireland, where the abundance of coal determines the wealth of the people and consequentely, affects their lives.

In this context, we see the evolution of teenager Mary Miller, and later on her son, in the village. As she is pitied when she falls into chemical runoff from the local mine, and outcast by others when the person who pushed her in dies the next day, her situation is continually shrouded in mystery and the reader asks himself constantly what is going on. Indeed there seem to be things moving under the surface, and the village in reality is a much darker place than it appears to be.

As Mary’s son Sandy grows up he is also hidden in mystery: no one seems to know who his father is. As some villagers believe he is the product of a dishonorable union between Mary and her brother, he is shunned by some and accepted by others, just like his mother. As events converge towards a climax all will be revealed on the horrible truth of life, Mary’s past, and even the mysterious girl Sandy has fallen in love with.

This book may interest some and bore others, but for the ones who do enjoy it they won’t forget it as the climax is especially memorable. Rankin’s skill really shows as he is able to describe a world of this kind where so many things are blurred, and we don’t know who to trust or who to label liars. We don’t learn the truth until the end, and his dark, clouded story keeps us reading on. A good read for any mystery enthusiast , and even for people who don’t usually read these kinds of books.