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Beg, Borrow, Steal: A Writer's Lifeby Michael Greenberg
Synopses & Reviews
To the literary elite, Michael Greenberg has always been known for his trenchant and moving columns that appear biweekly in the Times Literary Supplement. But when critics hailed his memoir Hurry Down Sunshine as a classic, Greenberg became a household name. Beg, Borrow, Steal is an autobiography in installments, set in NewYork, where the author depicts the life of a writer of little means trying to practice his craft, or simply stay alive. He finds himself writing about golf, a game that he never played; doctoring doomed movie scripts; driving trucks and taxis; selling cosmetics from an ironing board in front of a womens department store; and botching his debut as a waiter in a coveted five-star restaurant.
Central characters include the City of All Cities; Michaels father, whose scrap metal business looms large; his elegant mother; his first wife, Robin, whom he met in a Greenwich Village high school; their son, Aaron, who grew up on the Lower East Side; a repentant communist who fought in the Spanish Civil War; a Chilean filmmaker in search of his past; rats who behave like humans; beggars who are poets; a man who becomes a woman; and a woman who prefers to live underground. Greenberg creates a world where the familial, the incongruous, the literary, the humorous, the tragic, and the prosaic not only speak to each other, but deeply enjoy the exchange.
Praising Greenberg and his column in the New York Times, Rachel Donadio wrote: “Imagine The Talk of the Town as if written by Dostoyevsky.” This is an entirely original book, whose writing is magical
and whose insights are deceptively profound.
From the author of the acclaimed "Hurry Down Sunshine" comes an autobiography in installments, set in New York, where the author depicts the life of a writer of little means trying to practice his craft, or simply stay alive.
In Beg, Borrow, Steal Michael Greenberg regales us with his wry and vivid take on the life of a writer of little means trying to practice his craft or simply stay alive. He finds himself doctoring doomed movie scripts; selling cosmetics from an ironing board in front of a women's department store; writing about golf, a game he has never played; and botching his debut as a waiter in a posh restaurant.
Central characters include Michael's father, whose prediction that Michael's "scribbling" wouldn't get him on the subway almost came true; his artistic first wife, whom he met in a Greenwich Village high school; and their son who grew up on the Lower East Side, fluent in the language of the street and in the language of the parlor. Then there are Greenberg's unexpected encounters: a Holocaust survivor who on his deathbed tries to leave Michael his fortune; a repentant communist who confesses his sins; a man who becomes a woman; a Chilean filmmaker in search of his past; and rats who behave like humans and cease to live underground.
Hilarious and bittersweet, Greenberg's stories invite us into a world where the familial, the literary, the tragic and the mundane not only speak to one another, but deeply enjoy the exchange.
About the Author
A native New Yorker, Michael Greenberg is the author of the memoir Hurry Down Sunshine (Other Press, 2008), published in sixteen countries and chosen as one of the best books of 2008 by Time, the San Francisco Chronicle, Amazon.com, and Library Journal. He is a columnist for the Times Literary Supplement. His writing has appeared in such varied places as O, The Oprah Magazine and The New York Review of Books. He lives in New York.
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