Ten seconds before my father’s death, I have a premonition – that the breath he is taking will be his last.
It was only a graze caused by a dishwasher door, but the cut would not heal and infection took hold. Fifty days later, William Leith is standing by his father’s bedside, watching him disappear.
William is no stranger to his father disappearing; his childhood was marked by his father’s absences, and as a consequence their relationship has always been a troubled one. Now, as his father is about to leave him for the last time, William reflects on the twists and turns of their shared history.
Compelling, incisive, and told with searing honesty, THE CUT THAT WOULDN’T HEAL is about family and grief, and the pain of abandonment. It is about the way we let our loved ones down and the things we cannot say. It is about the act of disappearing – but also about how we might be able to reach out and find each other again.
"Touching on so many gloomy topics, THE CUT THAT WOULDN'T HEAL should be depressing, but it is in fact weirdly exhilarating, largely because the author tracks his own feelings, however untoward, with a darkly comical precision... Leith chronicles his own inappropriate thoughts with such unswerving dedication that what might, in other hands, have been simply macabre becomes peculiarly mesmerising." - Daily Mail
“The Cut That Wouldn't Heal should be depressing, but it is in fact weirdly exhilarating, largely because the author tracks his own feelings, however untoward, with a darkly comical precision . What might, in other hands, have been simply macabre becomes peculiarly mesmerising.” - - Craig Brown ― The Mail on Sunday
“A reckoning with the past by a writer whose past offers plenty to reckon with . Pacily written . satisfyingly structured.”
- - Norma Clarke ― Times Literary Supplement
"As mysterious and unsettling as a Cold War thriller - the search for self amidst the puzzle of a brilliant absentee father." - - Ed Needham ― Strong Words Magazine
“Honest without oversharing, William Leith is such a perfect writer . The Cut that Wouldn't Heal is a triumph and deeply moving. Wonderful.” - - Justin Webb
“A concise and intensely readable study of love and regret.”
- - Ian Jack
“William Leith is a very fine writer, defined by a compulsive honesty: not the heavily-curated oversharing of social media culture, but the real, uncomfortable thing. This book, which deals in the sometimes absurdist agonies of grief - and indeed of life - is his best yet.” - ― Laura Thompson