Arts + Culture » Literary

Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See

By Juliann Garey (Soho)

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Juliann Garey’s disciplined literary realism navigates a murky, disruptive plot detouring through Rome, Bangkok, Israel, Kampala, Nairobi and Santiago in debut novel Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See. Greyson Todd, a high-powered Hollywood studio executive hiding his bipolar disorder for years, tires of living the lie. Unhinged, Todd spontaneously abandons saintly suburban wife Ellen, daughter Willa, two Irish setters, his Brentwood ranch house (with swimming pool) and evil memories of Dad, then veers void-of-course across five continents for a decade before confronting fate in New York. Amoral, random and mentally ill, Todd indulges depraved episodes of absurd thrill seeking, casual fraud, medically strategic self-mutilation and callous casual sex, fueled by exotic hard liquor and endless liquid cash, with nihilist panache recalling T.C. Boyle, Robert Stone and Don DeLillo. Garey’s moralist overtone, resembling a horrified Puritan trapped in a whorehouse, predominates—but even cold-blooded readers will squirm with exquisite discomfort.

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