The explosive and virtuosic debut novel by one of the most talented young authors to have emerged in recent British fiction.
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**Shortlisted for The Goldsmiths Prize 2021**
**Shortlisted for The Desmond Elliott Prize 2021**
**An Observer 10 Best Debut Novelists of 2021**
‘An extremely perceptive depiction of power and agency.’ Guardian
‘Startlingly original.’ VOGUE
‘Extraordinary.’ New Yorker
little scratch tells the story of a day in the life of an unnamed woman, living in a lower-case world of demarcated fridge shelves and office politics; clock-watching and WhatsApp notifications. In a voice that is fiercely wry, touchingly delicate and increasingly neurotic, the protagonist relays what it takes to get through the quotidian detail of that single trajectory – from morning to night – while processing recent sexual violence.
little scratch is about the coexistence of monotony with our waking, intelligent lives. It is a powerful evocation of how the external and internal aspects of our lives exist in a helix, and what it means to live out the course of a single day consumed by trauma.
‘Wry, funny and heartbreaking.’ Sophie Mackintosh
‘little scratch is a story that is urgent. It is a story that needs to be told.’ Meena Kandasamy
‘Reads like the cinders settling in the air after an explosion… daring and completely readable.’ Colin Barrett
‘little scratch is a little miracle… impossible to read it and not wish there were more books like it.’ Alan Trotter
‘Confident and vital… little scratch is an absolute gift.’ Naoise Dolan
What is striking about little scratch is Watson’s ability to connect her character’s inner monologue with her physical existence; she is never less than fully embodied... little scratch is an extremely perceptive depiction of power and agency.
Astonishing... the rhythm is engaging and the voice instantly recognisable . . . There is power in the narrator’s vulnerability, in her multitudes colliding, in the casual digressions, in the joy she finds through simple things — mint tea, cycling home in the dark, chips dipped in gravy, having sex. Much like Michaela Coel’s TV drama I May Destroy You, this novel’s climax comes through the narrator’s own acknowledgment of her terrible trauma and what it means, rather than through neat divulgence or justice-seeking.
With clear-eyed precision and pathos, little scratch recalls the darkest elements of the #MeToo conversation, the trauma at its heart graphically but poetically recalled with all the brutalism from which the victim is still reeling... a bullet of a novel, ricocheting between grief, anger and hope’.
In the unfixed blur of this urban miscellany, little profundities gleam beneath quotidian surfaces ... Watson depicts her protagonist’s consciousness by way of striking formal structures, using typographical tricks to illustrate the cacophonous complexity of inner life... While this could be distracting, or even indulgent, in lesser hands, Watson’s experiments serve to both deepen our immersion and reify the buried pain at the novel’s center... little scratch absorbs the more fragmented forms of attention and makes of them something rich, assured and sad.
In little scratch, the position of words on the page is as important as what’s written. Through a stream of consciousness, we enter the unfiltered mind of a young female assistant and become privy to her thoughts - from the mundane to the horrific - over a single day. Startlingly original.
A coherent, gripping account of what it feels to be alive.
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