Oliphant is the story of a single, friendless and very solitary soul who has worked for a decade in the finance department of a design firm in Scotland.
A mysterious childhood accident has left a portion of her face scarred, and one is well aware by Eleanor's social skills and demeanor that the accident has marred more than just her physical appearance.
Her life outside of the office is extremely routine and guarded, nursed by vast quantities of vodka and pizza. Eleanor receives the occasional call from her mother who is currently imprisoned for a crime that is only hinted at in the beginning of this book.
Her mother, controlling and manipulative even from her confines continues to wreck Eleanor's self-esteem with her sharp and hurtful phone conversations.
When a tech issue at her office requires an interaction with an IT man named Raymond, Eleanor reluctantly forges a friendship with this kind, very accepting and rather goofy young man. Both funny and heart-wrenching at times ; a very satisfying read as we watch Eleanor's protective walls peeled away one layer at a time as she finally allows herself to be pulled from her lonely shell of existence.