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Certificate in Novel Writing – Fictional Forms Essay:
The Use of Setting in Ian Rankin’s Rebus Novels
Ian Rankin‘s Inspector Rebus novels are notable for their vivid use of setting – principally in Rankin and Rebus‘s home city of Edinburgh. Rankin skilfully employs his settings to illustrate character, create convincing plotlines and also to raise social and political issues in the books. Edinburgh‗s geography, history, architecture and political culture have provided fertile material for many contemporary writers. Kate Atkinson‘s recent novels have been largely set in Edinburgh and also feature an enigmatic detective – Jackson Brodie. ‗One Good Turn‘ is set during in the Edinburgh festival; its plot is sparked by a violent incident witnessed in the sunken streets of the Old Town. Reggie, the orphaned female protagonist of ‗When Will There Be Good News‘ starts the novel shuttling between the deprived area of Gorgie where she lives and child minding for prosperous doctor Jo Hunter in ‗the really nice side of Edinburgh with a view of Blackford Hill‘.. Irvine Welsh used exclusively gritty settings in novels such as ‗Trainspotting‘ – the council estates of Granton, Milton and Muirhouse. Welsh‘s Edinburgh is relentlessly bleak, involving drug use, prostitution and violence and many other vices. While Ian Rankin explores similarly seedy aspects of Edinburgh life, he leavens his plots and characters through exploiting particular aspects of the city – particularly its paradoxes, which are internalised in his characters and often resonate in the plots. The city‘s geography is particularly distinctive – Edinburgh castle stands centrally on a volcanic plug of hard rock, towering over 250ft above the city below. The dark, inscrutable castle is elevated above the neighbouring areas. The castle features in most of Rankin‘s novels: for example, an MP commits suicide in ‗The Naming of the Dead‘ by plunging from...