Synopses & Reviews
A studio executive leaves his family and travels the world giving free reign to the bipolar disorder he's been forced to hide for 20 years.
In her tour-de-force first novel, Juliann Garey takes us inside the restless mind, ravaged heart, and anguished soul of Greyson Todd, a successful Hollywood studio executive who leaves his wife and young daughter and for a decade travels the world giving free reign to the bipolar disorder he's been forced to keep hidden for almost 20 years. The novel intricately weaves together three timelines: the story of Greyson's travels (Rome, Israel, Santiago, Thailand, Uganda); the progressive unraveling of his own father seen through Greyson's eyes as a child; and the intimacies and estrangements of his marriage. The entire narrative unfolds in the time it takes him to undergo twelve 30-second electroshock treatments in a New York psychiatric ward. This is a literary page-turner of the first order, and a brilliant inside look at mental illness.
"In Garey's debut novel, Greyson Todd is a high-flying movie executive who, in 1984, leaves his studio job and his wife and eight-year-old daughter, and embarks on a worldwide tour. Ten years later, he is in a New York hospital being treated for bipolar disorder which he has struggled with for decades and given electroshock treatment. In between, we get the story of Greyson's conflicted marriage to Ellen, and his childhood with a failure for a father. As he travels around the world, Greyson hops from Rome to the Negev, Bangkok, Santiago, and Uganda, but his adventures seldom rise above the level of travelogue. Only when he finally lands in New York, where he settles down in Chelsea, and the author details the steps leading up to Greyson's nervous breakdown, does the story become sufficiently dramatic. Otherwise, the achronological structure works against the narrative by not allowing the reader to chart the progress of Greyson's mental illness. The author's take on what it was like to be raised on the show business periphery of Beverly Hills in the late 1950s feels authentic. In the end, though, this earnest novel about depression breaks no new ground in its depiction of the subject. Agent: Paul Bresnick, the Paul Bresnick Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Garey evokes in stark detail the torment and raw suffering of mental illness. A compelling read." Library Journal, Starred Review
"A racing vertiginous read, harrowing and heart-breaking and humorous at once." Daniel Mason, author of The Piano Tuner
"Garey breathes life into an uncomfortable and often misunderstood subject and creates a riveting experience." Kirkus Reviews
"As heartbreaking as The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and as hilarious as A Confederacy of Dunces, I think Garey is a genius." Jennifer Belle, author of High Maintenance and The Seven Year Bitch
"This is an important novel, an eye-opener, and, at times, a white-knuckle horror show in its depiction of mental illness." David Abrams, author of Fobbit
About the Author
Juliann Garey has sold original screenplays and television pilots to Sony Pictures, NBC, CBS, Columbia TriStar Television and Lifetime TV. As a journalist she has edited and written for publications including Marie Claire, Glamour, More, Entertainment Weekly, Elle, New York Magazine, The Los Angeles Times and The Huffington Post. She has received fellowships in fiction writing at The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and The Vermont Studio Center. Garey is a graduate of Yale University and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. Too Bright To Hear Too Loud To See is her first novel.