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The Boston Globe


Book Review

‘Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See,’ by Juliann Garey

Recall Jack Lipnick, Michael Lerner’s monstrous studio executive in the Cohen brothers’ masterpiece “Barton Fink”: his titanic self-regard, his operatic wheedling. Recall the harrowing poolside scene where Lipnick, a dynamo even in pink swimming trunks, coos barbed blandishments at Fink while terrorizing his assistant, Lou Breeze, whom he orders to kiss Fink’s feet — and he does!

Might he have been bipolar? Greyson Todd, the manic studio executive at the center of screenwriter Juliann Garey’s debut, “Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See,” shares some of Lipnick’s traits: His anger shakes the walls and he can melt rocks with his charm. Early in the first-person novel, Todd explains why his personality is suited to his job: “My work as a studio executive demands a tremendous amount of social intercourse, the appearance of impeccable interpersonal skills, the ability to read the room better and faster than anyone, to negotiate the situation graciously and ruthlessly to my advantage.”

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