Beg, Borrow, Steal


“Greenberg, a native New Yorker, loves the city as a child loves a parent, and in its honor he has put together a collection of tightly written incisive chapters, each another tessera or tile in a big mosaic…Greenberg is an acute observer (if ‘acute’ is defined as sharp, sensitive, even painful).” —Edmund White, The New York Times Book Review

“The short pieces in Beg, Borrow, Steal are in the tradition of the literary-journalistic essays that Europeans call feuilletons. Although flexible, this form requires skill and concision, and Michael Greenberg uses it brilliantly. Personal experience is at the center of each piece, but none is solipsistic; the tone is understated and ironic, and every essay contains a hard-won glimmer of insight.” —Juliet Wittman, The Washington Post

“[A] terrific new collection…. It is as though Bellow or Alfred Kazin were transported to post-millennial New York, bringing their toughness and romanticism to bear on our softer and more familiar world…. This book, with its intrepidity, humor, and dark insight, offers its own, irrefutable justification for the ‘writer’s life.’” Adam Kirsch, Tablet

“Greenberg’s book is an important reminder to writers that they don’t need to write ‘important’ stories, but rather, they need to give each story importance.” Carol Hoening, The Huffington Post

“Beg, Borrow, Steal will become a bestseller today and a classic inspiration tomorrow. Just as people carried Kerouac and Bellow in their back pocket, Greenberg’s conversational tone stays with you, and you want to read his essays again and again.”

“From odd jobs and family drama to political unrest in Argentina and the many pitfalls of memoir writing, Greenberg skillfully explores issues that range from the profoundly tragic to the delightfully funny…. Most chapters read like anecdotes told among friends, yet at the same time the author creates poignant subtexts involving fundamental human values and emotions like love, desire, honesty and malice….Succinct, entertaining personal narratives.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Graceful ponderings by a deeply sympathetic soul, a consummate New Yorker and terrific writer.”—Publishers Weekly

“Beg, Borrow, Steal is a writing memoir that belongs in the company of classics such as Grace Paley’s Just as I Thought, Annie Dillard’s Living by Fiction, William Gass’s Fiction and the Figures of Life, and Eudora Welty’s One Writer’s Beginnings….Greenberg writes, ‘My editor’s instructions were simple and concise: each piece had to spill a drop of blood.’ They do.”—Foreword Magazine

“Greenberg’s descriptions of his encounters with mentors, his dealings with the movie world and his endless family dramas are rendered with biting humor and insight. The unflinching stories are so well written, readers will wince.”—Florida Times-Union