Hurry Down Sunshine: A Memoir

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9781590511916: Hurry Down Sunshine: A Memoir

HURRY DOWN SUNSHINE TELLS THE STORY OF THE extraordinary summer when, at the age of fifteen, Michael Greenberg’s daughter was struck mad. It begins with Sally’s visionary crack-up on the streets of Greenwich Village, and continues, among other places, in the out-of-time world of a Manhattan psychiatric ward during the city’s most sweltering months. “I feel like I’m traveling and traveling with nowhere to go back to,” Sally says in a burst of lucidity while hurtling away toward some place her father could not dream of or imagine. Hurry Down Sunshine is the chronicle of that journey, and its effect on Sally and those closest to her–her brother and grandmother, her mother and stepmother, and, not least of all, the author himself. Among Greenberg’s unforgettable gallery of characters are an unconventional psychiatrist, an Orthodox Jewish patient, a manic Classics professor, a movie producer, and a landlord with literary dreams. Unsentimental, nuanced, and deeply humane, Hurry Down Sunshine holds the reader in a mesmerizing state of suspension between the mundane and the transcendent.

“The psychotic break of his fifteen-year-old daughter is the grit around which Michael Greenberg forms the pearl that is Hurry Down Sunshine. It is a brilliant, taut, entirely original study of a suffering child and a family and marriage under siege. I know of no other book about madness whose claim to scientific knowledge is so modest and whose artistic achievement is so great.” – Janet Malcolm, author of The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath & Ted Hughes and The Journalist and the Murderer

“One of the most gripping and disturbingly honest books I have ever read.  The courage Michael Greenberg shows in narrating the story of his adolescent daughter’s descent into psychosis is matched by his acute understanding of how alone each of us, sane or manic, is in our processing of reality and our attempts to get others to appreciate what seems important to us. This is a remarkable memoir.” – Phillip Lopate, author of Two Marriages and Waterfront: A Journey Around Manhattan

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Review:

Amazon Best of the Month, September 2008: Michael Greenberg's spare, unflinching memoir begins with a bang: "On July 5, 1996, my daughter was struck mad." Hurry Down Sunshine chronicles the summer when fifteen-year-old Sally experienced her first full-blown manic episode—an event that in a "single stroke" changed her identity and, by extension, that of her entire family. Simply told and beautifully written, Greenberg's memoir shines a stark light on mental illness, painting a vivid picture of a brain and body under siege—mania as a separate living thing squatting within the patient. As a writer who lives "so much in his head," Greenberg is particularly anguished by his daughter's fractured psyche, and his honesty about being both sickened and fascinated by his daughter's condition is breathtaking: "During the worst moments, I think of her as my disease—the disease I must bear...I am intoxicated with Sally's madness in both senses of the word: inebriated and poisoned." So desperate is he to understand her, that he relentlessly researches mental illness (the book is peppered with fascinating insights into drug therapy and anecdotes about writers who struggled with madness), and even goes so far as to sample a full dose of his daughter's medication. Startling, heart-wrenching, and yet unwaveringly unsentimental, Hurry Down Sunshine is an unforgettable story of a young girl's descent into madness, told through the eyes of a harried and helpless father trying desperately to bring her back. --Daphne Durham

About the Author:

Michael Greenberg

A native New Yorker, Michael Greenberg is a columnist for the Times Literary Supplement (London), where his wide-ranging essays have been appearing since 2003. His fiction, criticism, and travel pieces have been published widely. He lives in New York with his wife and nine-year-old son

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Book Description Other Press LLC, New York, New York, U.S.A., 2008. ARC. Book Condition: New. No Jacket. First Edition, First Printing. Advance Uncorrected Proof. HURRY DOWN SUNSHINE tells the story of the extraordinary summer when, at the age of fifteen, Michael Greenberg's daughter was struck mad. It begins with Sally's visionary crack-up on the streets of Greenwich Village, and continues among other places in the out-of-time world of a Manhattan psychiatric ward during the city's most sweltering months. 'I feel like I'm traveling and traveling with nowhere to to back to,' Sally says in a burst of lucidity while hurtling away toward some place her father could not dream of or imagine. HURRY DOWN SUNSHINE is the chronicle of that journey, and its effect on Sally and those closest to her--her brother and grandmother, her mother and step-mother, and, not least of all, the author himself. New ARC in pictorial wraps. Bookseller Inventory # 11942

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