Hurry Down Sunshine (Hardcover)

By Michael Greenberg

Other Press (NY), 9781590511916, 234pp.

Publication Date: September 9, 2008

List Price: 22.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


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

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

Praise For Hurry Down Sunshine

Suzanne Niemoth, Flavorpill

“Michael Greenberg's excellently written memoir echoes the genre's most poignant predecessors. … Greenberg's wry, lighting-bolt prose and unsentimental portrayal of his family's ordeal make for a brilliant, engrossing sketch of mental illness and its terrifying, destructive fallout.”

Oliver Sacks, New York Review of Books

“In its detail, depth, richness, and sheer intelligence, Hurry Down Sunshine will be recognized as a classic of its kind ….Lucid, realistic, compassionate, illuminating, Hurry Down Sunshine may provide a sort of guide for those who have to negotiate the dark regions of the soul—a guide, too, for their families and friends, for all those who want to understand what their loved ones are going through.”

Time, Lev Grossman

[an]… extraordinary memoir…”

Library Journal

“The prose is so fluid that it transports us into the author's head, making his shock, fear, and love our own.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“[Hurry Down Sunshine is]… almost impossible to put down.”

Shelf Awareness

“…deeply affecting and poetically rendered…”