Also of varying degrees of madness

Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See; Inside Rehab; Tiger Rag; When My Brother Was an Aztec

Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See

by Juliann Garey (Soho, $25)

One man’s bipolar disorder begins to feel like a universal human affliction in Juliann Garey’s debut novel, said Samantha Nelson in the A.V. Club. The protagonist, a deeply flawed Hollywood executive, may seem an unlikely everyman, especially after he leaves his family for a debauched world journey. But by navigating his highs and lows and the self-destruction they each bring, Garey “provides a visceral, sometimes hard-to-read look” at how vexed any quest for individual happiness can be.

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Inside Rehab

by Anne M. Fletcher (Viking, $28)

Anne Fletcher has written an “indispensable” corrective to public misperceptions about drug and alcohol rehab, said Laura Miller in Enrolling in a residential rehab program turns out to be among the least effective ways to beat addiction, and 12-step programs in general are known to be less than a one-size-fits-all solution. Fletcher’s “informed and judicious” study can’t be called compelling reading, but no one seeking an answer to addiction should ignore it.

Tiger Rag

by Nicholas Christopher (Dial, $26)

Not much is known about Buddy Bolden, the New Orleans cornetist often called the father of jazz, said Laura Eggertson in the Toronto Star. He left behind no known recordings before being institutionalized at 30 with what was probably schizophrenia. But novelist Nicholas Christopher has built an “engrossing” tale about lost cylinders recorded by Bolden that cuts between eras and features a “poignant picture of his descent from a popular local hero into a destitute and deranged outcast.”

When My Brother Was an Aztec

by Natalie Diaz (Copper Canyon, $16)

Poet Natalie Diaz copes with her brother’s meth addiction through metaphor, said Eric McHenry in The New York Times. He might dress as Judas or a skeleton, and Diaz responds to his unpredictability in kind, depicting him in her poetry as a moth, a magus, an Aztec. In this “uneven, beautiful” debut, Diaz’s brother is central to the portrait she creates of life on a Mojave reservation. She makes him a figure who “can’t be fixed in either sense: made better or fully apprehended.”

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