A young woman’s nightmare slowly emerges during a day at the office in this unflinching tale of sexual violence

Journalist Rebecca Watson’s debut novel Little Scratch takes us through the day of an unnamed young woman working as an assistant in a newsroom who is grappling with the aftermath of sexual violence, a journey told through a dizzying stream of consciousness.

The form freewheels across the page as largely disordered and unpunctuated fragments of text recording all the banal and profound reflections of a day. Life’s constant barrage of interruptions – catcalls, toilet-door posters, WhatsApp messages, dialogue and overheard conversations – are detailed minutely and seamlessly alongside the protagonist’s own thoughts. While sometimes confusing – how best to read this anarchic word jungle? – it also transports us with immediacy into her disordered state of mind. Simultaneously, she attempts to repress the violence she has suffered, to accept lowly isolation in an open-plan office while nursing her own writing ambitions and to support her boyfriend (“my him”) without appearing clingy.

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