Joy lives in Bourtreehill, a council estate outside Irvine, North Ayrshire. It is presented as run-down, bleak and ugly.
Galloway stresses the distance between Bourtreehill and anywhere else. It is:
well outside the town it claims to be part of
Joy mentions that she has to
take two buses to get where I have to go.. When she doesn't use public transport, Joy relies on others to give her a lift to school. The fact that Joy lives
so far away from civilisation seems to confirm her position as an outsider and alien.
Mention is given to a rumour that this place was actually:
meant for undesirables, difficult tenants from other places...from Glasgow.
This fits with Joy’s marginal position. It suggests Joy is also
undesirable, a misfit in society because of her depression. It supports her position as a socially shunned, grieving mistress.