Beg, Borrow, Steal by Michael Greenberg
A Writer's Life

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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 Michael Greenberg

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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,, 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.
Published September 8, 2009 by Other Press. 242 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Beg, Borrow, Steal

The New York Times

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Michael Greenberg’s incisive essays testify to his love for New York.

Sep 27 2009 | Read Full Review of Beg, Borrow, Steal: A Writer'...

The Guardian

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Beautifully observed and full of wry humour, these haiku-like pieces create a wonderfully vivid and personal portrait of New York life, from rat infestations ("the barbarians had overrun us") and bird-watching in Central Park (where he spent two nights sleeping rough as a teenager after an argume...

Feb 11 2011 | Read Full Review of Beg, Borrow, Steal: A Writer'...

BC Books

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“I count on one finger the number of books I sold in Laguna, and wonder how it matches up with my mounting expenses.” We hope by now, with thousands of Hurry Down Sunshine fans ready to read Beg, Borrow, Steal, that Greenberg will be motivated to keep observing, writing, and counting us among hi...

Sep 05 2009 | Read Full Review of Beg, Borrow, Steal: A Writer'...

Deseret News

A lot of the pieces circle around Greenberg's own peripatetic and often brutally unrewarding literary life, from his abrasive relationship with his father, who expected Greenberg to work in the family's scrap metal business, to the editor Theodore Solotaroff, who once returned a novel to Greenber...

Jul 31 2010 | Read Full Review of Beg, Borrow, Steal: A Writer'...

The Moderate Voice

Writing in a style that is almost a combination of the late Mike Royko , or a New Yorker column, with a touch of the dark humor of David Sedaris thrown in, Greenberg’s collection of short columns is a must-reading role model for aspiring, writers, new and old media columnists, aspiring journalis...

Dec 11 2009 | Read Full Review of Beg, Borrow, Steal: A Writer'...

David G. Schwartz

But for people who consider New York just another city (like this reviewer), his writing on writing is ample reason to read this book.

Nov 06 2009 | Read Full Review of Beg, Borrow, Steal: A Writer'...

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