Bits of Me are Falling Apart

Bits of Me are Falling Apart
Published : 1 Oct 2008 - Bloomsbury
One morning in August 2007, William Leith wakes up and realises that something is wrong. He is not in a bed, but on an old mattress on the floor. He is not in a house. He is in his office. He is alone. He no longer lives with his little boy and the mother of his little boy. Mentally, he is at the end of his tether. Physically, he is fraying at the edges. Bits of him are falling apart. But then again, so is everything else - the economy, the environment, the very fabric of society. With his trademark darkly humorous mix of personal story and social commentary, Leith attempts to answer the question: is everything really falling apart? Or is it just him? He examines the ageing process in humans, and in everything else as well, from the universe to the banking system. And he comes to realise that, even if he can't solve the problems of the world, at least he has a thorough understanding of failure.


He’s an extremely good writer. Very funny ... His analysis of why our monetary system is the root of all evil is bordering on genius, such is its simplicity and confidence. He is succinct and brilliant on how society requires us to work harder and harder just to maintain the status quo. And his super-macro-explanation of humanity’s impeding ruin is wonderful.

Matt Rudd, Sunday Times

Despite the perpetual pessimism, Leith is also very funny ... Even his most random disquisitions contain glorious nuggets of information.

The Observer

Leith’s writing [is] an incomparable pleasure ... Leith is never more fascinating than when he’s not writing about the thing he’s supposed to be writing about. It’s in his riffs, his digressions, his parentheses, his random insights and his stylistic flourishes that his real (considerable) talents lie ... The final 20 pages, especially, are heart-stoppingly brilliant: a car-crash-in-slow-motion portrait of middle-aged yearning, hope and tragic self-delusion smashing headlong into the brick wall of reality.

James Delingpole, Mail on Sunday

Hilarious, touching and beautifully written. William Leith is just the very best person around writing this sort of thing – he is Philip Larkin meets Jeremy Clarkson, but in a good way. The is a middle-aged CATCHER IN THE RYE.

Jon Ronson

A fascinating, shambling, often very funny meditation on failure, remorse, physical frailty, the fear of death and the fear of pretty much everything else, now you come to mention it.


Fine, blackly comic writing and frequent tangents that end up in memorable tracts of personal history.

Ben East, Metro

Leith is a very good writer: succinct except when he’s repeating himself for effect; amusing except when he’s predicting the end of the world; perceptive except when he’s pretending he can’t remember who actually sang Pink Floyd’s Time, or which Dutch explorer discovered East Island.

Andrew Collins, Mail on Sunday

The definitive modern guide to how the middle-aged man experiences failure.

The Scotsman

Move[s] at the kind of pace any thriller writer would give his eye teeth to maintain.

Christopher Bray, Telegraph

His analysis of why our monetary system is the root of all evil is bordering on genius, such is its simplicity and confidence.

Matt Rudd, The Times

He details the minute interior deaths within the body (ageing, that is), cellular misreading, dramatising them as the heroic and dastardly doings of goodies and baddies...

Jenny Diski, Guardian

The prose cleverly portrays a life that the author feels is out of control.

Russell Cook

Hugely influential.

Marcus Berkmann, Spectator

Intelligent, articulate and educated.

Harry Borden


Time Out

Showing 5 of 15 reviews