Book Beginnings and Friday 56 – The Flood (July 20)

My choice for my weekly Friday meme combo this week is The Flood by Ian Rankin. To my shame, I haven’t read anything by Rankin, although I have a few of his books unopened on my shelves. I picked up the flood for a quarter this week at a local thrift store and will hopefully get round to reading it soon. GoodReads has the following description:

In 1986, a small Scottish publishing firm released a first novel by a talented young writer. Only a few hundred copies were printed but it was a literary milestone nonetheless. The book was The Flood. The author was Ian Rankin…

Mary Miller had 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, sympathy for her quickly faded when the young man who pushed her in died in a mining accident just two days later. From then on she was regarded with a mixture of suspicion and fascination by her God-fearing community.

Now, 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 teacher. Sandy, meanwhile, has fallen in love with a strange homeless girl. The search for happiness isn’t easy. Both mother and son must face a dark secret from their past, 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.

Now for this week’s excerpts:

Book Beginnings is hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader, who invites anyone to join in, saying: ‘Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.  Please remember to include the title of the book and the author. Leave a link to your post.  If you don’t have a blog, but want to participate, please leave a comment with your Book Beginning.’

The beginning of The Flood:

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 play football in the park with his friends. She was attracted, young though she was, to their swagger, to the way they rolled  their shirtsleeves up like their fathers and shouted for every ball. She would sit by the goalposts between which her brother danced and would console him when he let in a goal.

The Friday 56 is a book meme hosted by Freda’s Voice and the rules are as follows:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.

It’s that simple.

From page 56 of The Flood:

He had fallen in love on that first day, and had known it, for he had thought about her all the next week at school and had walked often past the mansion hoping for a glimpse of her.

That’s it for this week. If I can get my current read finished this weekend I’ll get on to this one.

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12 thoughts on “Book Beginnings and Friday 56 – The Flood (July 20)

  1. I’ve been tearing through his Rebus series and love them. I also just found a copy of this at rummage sale for a quarter. What a coincidence! First novels can sometimes be a let down, but I’ll give it a go one of these days.

    Thanks for playing along with BBOF!

    • Quite the coincidence indeed! I’ve actually heard some good things about this one, so hopefully what I’ve heard is right. Thanks for visiting and hosting BBOF.

    • I hear you! I keep finding more and more stuff to read as well, but that’s the fun of keeping a TBR list. Thanks for dropping by and enjoy your weekend.

  2. An opening, interesting writing style always drives me to read more! Love the expression: “She was attracted, young though she was, to their swagger, to the way they rolled their shirtsleeves up like their fathers and shouted for every ball.”

  3. I like that opening, especially the mix between fantasy and modern day things like football. I wonder how the witch fits in.

    Thanks for visiting my blog!

  4. I think I might have this book, and your post made me want to read it, My parents are avid Rankin fans, but I keep putting off actually picking up one of his books, it’s something in the covers I think that just doesn’t appeal to me.

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