The Flood is a beautifully written tale about depressed people in depressed times. It is about people with little futures in towns that barely sustain those who remain. This is more of a character study than a novel relying on plot and, as such, is a beautiful triumph. The protagonists are three dimensional and quite believable. For me, it is 15 year old Sandy who is the center of the story. His mother is reviled as a witch but he is accepted and this dilemma leads him to his own errors and torment. This is one of those novels in which you can say little about the plot without giving it away. However, it is Rankin's sparse but tense style that is the highlight. The only thing that keeps it from being five stars is an abrupt ending. But the trip there is outstanding.