Rankin wrote this while at University, instead of writing his thesis. I rate this one as one of his best books. Loved the story idea and the style. He really can tell a story.
In this novel, we meet a mother and son trying to make sense of their world, a small Scottish community. They are both marked by the unfortunate events in the mother's life: as a child she was pushed into the chemical runoff of the local factory. Her hair turns white and she is marginalised by ignorance and suspicion.
As a solo mother, more isolated than before, she starts a relationship with a schoolteacher and as her son grows up she has to reveal their family secrets for him to make peace with himself and his community.
Dark, powerful and a great start to Rankin's career.