ContemporaryLittle Scratch by Rebecca Whatsun

Little Scratch by Rebecca Whatsun

Released in paperback two weeks ago, Little Scratch by @rebeccawhatsun was published in 2021 to widespread critical acclaim, entering prize shortlists and garnering international praise. So naturally I was sceptical.

Reading this book is like being sucked through a vortex into a real, neuron firing brain of another person. This is beyond a stream of conscious style of prose, the strands of thought entering the protagonist mind are without interpretation or literary enhancement. It is startlingly original, unique, experimental, daring and the effect for me was completely overwhelming.

Taking place over the course of one day, we follow an unnamed woman through the quotidian stages of getting up, going to work and meeting her boyfriend afterwards. With a trigger warning for sexual assault, you are transported into the subconscious of a victim, and it is the most powerful experience, exploring her fears, reluctance to tell anyone and the physical manifestation of her trauma.

I can usually read a book with background noise or distraction. I needed absolute silence for Little Scratch. The placement of the words is as critical as the words themselves, which at times confusing portrays the whirlwind of encroaching thoughts. The scarcity of language makes this so powerful, I was utterly consumed, reading this in one sitting.

I honestly can’t compare it to anything I have ever read before. Initially I wondered whether this was poetry but it isn’t, it is literally a human brain going through anguish on a page. One review separates her going through the mechanical flow of her day whilst facing the interior anarchy of emotion and patriarchal hierarchies which I think is a great distillation of this book. 

It blew me away. I was so emotional by the end. Because it is so unique it isn’t a title that will appeal to absolutely everyone but for those that get this the hype is real. The author is unafraid to challenge the reader. Watson is so astonishingly perceptive I cannot quite believe it is fictional. I will read whatever she writes in the future.

Ad:PR Copy ~ @faberbooks I love you so much for sending me a copy. You guys are rockstars.

– Chaya

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