From the co-creator of the landmark television series Twin Peaks comes a novel that deepens the mysteries of that iconic town in ways that not only enrich the original series but readies fans for the upcoming Showtime episodes.
Diane, it’s 8:43 p.m. on May the 22, and I have just completed what I believe to be a monumental and not insignificant undertaking: over the course of the last 10 days, I have successfully devoured all 30 episodes of the original “Twin Peaks” show, survived the bleak terror that is “Fire Walk with Me,” consumed all four episodes of Showtime’s new season, and now–last, but certainly not least–I have dissected all 368 fascinating pages of Mark Frost’s “The Secret History of Twin Peaks.”
Diane, while I will admit that I am, at least for the moment, feeling a bit “Twin Peaks”-ed out, please also believe me when I tell you that I am also feeling something else right now, something that–if I am not mistaken–bears a striking resemblance to love. Much like the love that I have for donuts. Or coffee. Especially coffee.
Forgive my rambling, Diane, but it just can’t be helped; when you experience something as wonderful as “Twin Peaks” for the first time, cogency and focus are among the first casualties. In particular, “The Secret History of Twin Peaks” is something to behold, a literary tour de force that’s every bit as absorbing as the television program that inspired it (if not MORE so). While I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Mark Frost in person, the man’s inventiveness cannot, and should not, be overlooked.
Allow me a moment to ponder something aloud: although the brilliance of “Twin Peaks” often seems to be attributed solely to David Lynch–not shocking, given his flashy and defiantly non-mainstream style–I can’t help but suspect, now having read “The Secret History of Twin Peaks” and all of its labyrinthine detours into conspiracies and the realms of the paranormal, that it’s actually Frost’s uncanny ability to construct worlds and mythologies that pull the reader/viewer into their absorbing depths that is every bit as responsible for this property’s success. “The Secret History of Twin Peaks” is a testament to Frost’s constructive genius–somehow, the man manages to weave everything from UFOs, the Freemasons, Aleister Crowley, ancient Indian spirits, L. Ron Hubbard, Lewis and Clark, and even Richard Nixon together into a cohesive and original vision that is as baffling as it is hypnotic.
What I’m trying to say, Diane–and again, please forgive my rambling, I now fear that perhaps I shouldn’t have had that extra cup this morning–is that this is a damn fine book, filled with damn fine research, damn fine Easter eggs, and good old fashioned, damn fine storytelling panache, and you simply MUST find the time to check it out for yourself, Diane–preferably after you’re done transcribing my tapes, of course. And preferably consumed with a cup of Good Morning America to go with it.
I read this while enjoying a piece of cherry pie and a cup of damn good black coffee after installing my silent drape runners. And lemme tell you about this crazy dream I had last night. I was in this room with red curtains….
OK, those are the obvious references, but I’m new to Twin Peaks fandom so cut me some slack. Honestly, I’ve always been kind of fascinated by David Lynch’s work, but I struggled mightily with it because I’m the kind of person who needs the story to make some kind of sense at the end of the day. So Lynchian style dream logic just isn’t my bag.
Or at least it didn’t used to be until all the hype about the return of Twin Peaks got my curiosity up enough to finally work my way through the two seasons of the original show after and the prequel movie Fire Walk With Me. Something clicked for me this time with the whole story about the murder of high school girl in this weird town even if that second season is a real slog at times. And I was utterly transfixed and mesmerized with the return to it over 25 years later. So that’s how I ended up reading this, and as you’d expect from show co-creator Mark Frost even a tie-in book couldn’t be simple.
This came out before the return of the show, and it’s obviously meant to fill in some gaps and lay groundwork. The concept is that what we’re reading is a file compiled by a mysterious archivist who proceeds to link the town of Twin Peaks and the stories of some of its residents to a vast conspiracy that stretches back to the days of the Lewis and Clark expedition. In fact, it’s like a Grand Unified Theory of Conspiracy Theories that includes pretty much everything from Freemasons to Roswell to the JFK assassination along with references to real people like Thomas Jefferson, Richard Nixon, and L. Ron Hubbard.
The impressive thing here is how well this is done so that it actually doesn’t seem that batshit crazy if you’ve seen the show. The structure is particularly interesting in that it’s an epistolary novel using a variety of sources ranging from newspaper accounts to top secret government documents with notes from the archivist which connect the dots. Another layer to this is that we’re actually supposed to be reading this as a report from a FBI agent (One who becomes a character in the new season.) who is vetting the file and adding her own comments and notes to what the archivist is saying as well as trying to figure out his identity.
If you were only reading this to get questions answered from the show then it might be frustrating because while there are sections that deal with the familiar characters a great deal is just about this wide ranging conspiracy about UFOs. Sort of.
The main link is that we learn that a minor character from the original run of the show actually had a whole secret life tied into this vast conspiracy which also connects it all back to the town and its citizens. By the end it all comes full circle so that it makes sense. (Or as much sense as anything in Twin Peaks ever does.) It was probably slightly confusing to anyone who hadn’t seen the last season before reading, but as a companion piece to the entire show I found it extremely compelling.
One thing that I’m scratching my head over is that it seems to have some monumental continuity errors. Especially in the story of how Big Ed lost his true love Norma and ended up marrying crazy Nadine instead. Again, I’m no expert, but this seems wildly different then the story Big Ed told on the show back in the day.
On the other hand, the tale this time is being relayed by another character, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Frost wasn’t doing something tricky here that’s a commentary on how history changes depending on who’s telling it which would be a sly wink as to how much we can trust anything that’s in this book. Or maybe he just screwed up. It’s Twin Peaks so we’ll probably never know for sure, but that’s part of what makes it all so intriguing.
Not only is the book a beautiful design, but the story takes the reader deeper into the (his)story of Twin Peaks and its inhabitants, as well as into the history of the United States. Thematically, one particular highlight was the "amending" of Season 2 elements. Where Season 2 went off the rails, this book fills in some gaping holes there which make for a much more cohesive view of those elements within the larger Twin Peaks mythology. Additionally, the complexity of this text is startling: at any given time, there are three competing narrative voices (edit/ non-spoiler spoilers: in retrospect, sometimes up to FIVE narrative voices): the voice of the document(s) in question, the voice of Special Agent TP, and the voice of the mysterious Archivist. It creates a narrative tapestry that is not at all what I expected. Overall, I am over-the-moon with this book.
This book was absolutely brilliant, you can definitely see the effort here by Frost in compiling this; it's just put together so well and he's given us Twin Peaks fans something very special. (thanks again)
It gives insight into the mythology and conspiracies tied to Twin Peaks.
Written in the form of a dossier, the book is a collection of journal entries, testimonies, and case files all to be analyzed by Special Agent Tamara Preston - who has been assigned by Deputy Director Gordon Cole to discover the identity of the person who compiled the dossier, referred to as the Archivist.
This is essential reading for Peaks fans!
Now for some coffee and massive, massive quantities of pie.
About 23% of The Secret History of Twin Peaks is very interesting. The rest reads like X-files fan-fiction (it's even annotated by a very Scully-like FBI agent, whose intials--it hurts to say this-- are "TP"), and doesn't feel at all like the Twin Peaks I know and love. Most of that 23% is contained between pages 155 and 237, a section in which Mark Frost sets aside the UFO sightings, Project Paperclip, and men in black to give the reader the backstories of a number of Twin Peaks regulars. We get the history of Big Ed and Nadine, and Norma and Hank; the politics between the Packards and the Martells; the full story of Josie Packard; and even the origins of the Double R Diner (and why it has the "Mar-T" on the sign). These pages are fantastic. Writing backstory is really hard to do well, but Mark Frost clearly has these characters back to front. What he writes about them rings so true, and it's a delight to read.
But that's not a big percentage of the book. And unfortunately, this wonderful section about Twin Peaks is bookended by some very disappointing stuff. Most of the book is an attempt to connect the Twin Peaks mythology to UFO sightings and alien abductions. The theory is that it's all perhaps less extra-terrestrial and in fact more extra-dimensional. So the giant, the little man, and the other Lodge residents--they're all now joined by the grays and other "alien" beings, for purposes that we don't know and probably can't ever know.
I love Twin Peaks, but I would be happier to have its supernatural elements not connect directly into everything else in the history of the world. I always thought of it more as a type of mythological conflict that may be happening in many small towns, but not that it necessarily is the same conflict that's happening all over. Using Twin Peaks as a vehicle to explain UFO and alien abduction stories, the Illuminati, the Freemasons, and even L. Ron Hubbard's scientology just feels completely wrong. I don't need Lewis and Clark, Richard Nixon, and a host of other historical cameos to all have some kind of connection to the sycamore circle just outside of Twin Peaks. Twin Peaks was never Forrest Gump, nor should it be.
Writing a new story into history is a harder task to pull off than writing the fictional histories of beloved characters--and Mark Frost is okay at it, but not good enough to draw me into his narrative. It never feels genuine to me, and the skipping around through history seems haphazard.
One of the oddest choices Frost made was to place Twin Peaks in the central role connecting everything through the 20th century. I just can't figure this out. It's like Frost deliberately chose the one resident I didn't really care about, and who is furthest removed from the main story, and arbitrarily makes him the key protagonist. I really disliked this choice, but I thought if there was an interesting twist in the end, it could work out. There is no interesting twist in the end. It was a bad choice.
Another element of the book that bothered me was the gimmick of having all of the documents collected by "The Archivist." It's meant to be a mystery throughout the book, but obviously it could only have been , and after a certain point, it's clear it can't be the first of those choices.
This is not, as the cover proclaims (as if to convince us), "a novel." It's "a novelty." I remember at the time of the original series, Frost said that he wanted to write an epic novel about Twin Peaks, which would begin--James Michener-style--with the formation of the mountains themselves in prehistory, and tell the whole story of that geographical location through many eras. I always wanted that book, but now we have it and we see that Frost is not able to write a novel. He writes screenplay treatments and plot summaries, but he doesn't give us any sustained novelistic writing anywhere in the book. Even in the sections of Twin Peaks residents' backstories, I just so wanted Frost to actually write a story, rather than cheating us with faux newspaper articles and police reports and so forth. It's a lost opportunity.
The most frustrating thing about the book--even though it was also predictable, even inevitable--is that Frost says almost nothing about what happened after the final episode. There are only about three references to actions just after Cooper smashes the mirror, and none of them answer any questions. Other things from the past appear but remain mysteries--especially the jade ring, which keeps appearing in the book, but without explanation of how it passes from one person to the next, nor what it actually means.
I still hold out hope that the new series next year may be awesome, but seeing one of the co-creators waste his time on a tangent like this worries me.
You should read this before you open up the book. Spoiler free review.
USPS somehow delivered this to me a few days early (thanks US mail) so I read this over the very rainy weekend. This is not a novel in the traditional fashion. What it is, is a collection of letters, documents, newspaper clippings, and photos. These start way back with Lewis and Clark and go all the way forward to now. It’s a bit slow in the first 100 pages but after that the collection hits its stride. It becomes suggestive, gloomy, and quirky; much like the series. The attention to detail is really nice. The footnotes are distracting, but they do add to the overall body and contain their own add-in of data. The cover is beautiful, and I am surprised the price wasn’t higher. The cover is highly embossed and gives it the feel of a book much older than it is. It is apparent that pride was taken in making this, and it is something that Mark Frost should be proud to have his name on.
Does it answer questions? Heck yes it does. Sometimes those answers are subtle; a single line in a document. Other times it’s a headline about a bank explosion that you can’t un see. DON’T flip through it casually if you want to read it the whole way through. Yes, the answers are there for a whole lot of things you may have wondered, and a lot of things that may not have dawned on you no matter how many times you have read it.
Are there any bad points? Maybe. It depends on what you expect. If you want something that tells the story in a way that is very fitting of the Twin Peaks world, this is the book for you. If you are looking for a novel to just read through, you may be disappointed. The one bad thing for me was about every 50 pages there would be something incorrect for the time period, like cellophane on a 1947 pack of cigarettes, or a 1800s’ era person using a bit of modern slang. This isn’t an issue once it gets to the 1960s’ and if you are not big into history it’s quite possible that you wouldn’t even notice. It just broke the continuity for me which was a bummer since I was trying to get back into the Twin Peaks feel.
A lot of material produced for a TV show or movie tend to be filler to make more dollars from a franchise. This book was written for fans, by folks who care about the fans and the Twin Peaks world. It answers a lot of questions, but still leaves enough unsaid that season three will be very welcome. I think this book does exactly what Mark Frost said it would, bridge the gap between the seasons.
Mark Frost, the writer of this book, is the co-creator of the TWIN PEAKS television series. So, no matter what a reviewer has to say about the book, the true TWIN PEAKS fan is going to read this (especially with the series' return set to launch in a few months). It is like telling true Harry Potter fans that the latest installment (not penned by the original writer) is not nearly as good as any of the books. The fans will still flock.
With that acknowledgment, here goes:
THE SECRET HISTORY OF TWIN PEAKS is an incredible mis-step in the series. The first third reads like a combination of NATIONAL TREASURE and the latest offering by Dan Brown (territory that has already proven comfortable for the writer). It is not uninteresting, but it is also not TWIN PEAKS.
The second third will be of the greatest interest to fans. It provides backstory for a number of the characters we know, and provides some resolution to the famous "cliffhanger" finale. ... No, before you ask, it doesn't tell us what happened to Agent Dale Cooper. It also establishes a connection with the TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME movie.
The final third is THE X-FILES. The groundwork was established in the television series (second season), so the writer is still connecting the dots. However, it is done by elevating a minor character to unreasonable participation and providing new motivations behind a number of events loyal viewers witnessed.
Several characters are ignored or receive only passing mention. The secrets of the Black Lodge and the White Lodge are still unrevealed. And we learn that a largely accepted fan theory about the Chet Desmond / Phillip Jeffries scenes from the movie are flat out wrong.
If you know very little about TWIN PEAKS, I would strongly advise against reading this book. Not only are some fascinating series revelations exposed, but you will have the wrong idea of what attracted people to the series. TWIN PEAKS was quirky television with a soap opera base that, in its best moments, was nothing short of brilliant. My knowledge of who killed Laura Palmer does not in any way lessen the power of the episode that provided that answer. (I think that episode is probably on many people's Top 5 list of the best moments in television.)
The biggest problem is that the book dwells too much on explanations and the plotting behind why things happened. I can guarantee you that when we gathered around the water cooler after a TWIN PEAKS airing, we were talking about what happened to the CHARACTERS we enjoyed so much, not about how we thought Glastonbury Grove worked. That is this book's huge mis-step. The series was always about the characters for most of the fans, not about the machinations that were going on behind the scenes. If anyone should know that, Mark Frost should be that person.
Now, it is certainly probable that the book is intended to set-up the series return. If so, we've been introduced to a major character who is likely to be the glue to hold the new plot line together. Even so, with David Lynch promising to be closely involved with every episode, I can't see the emphasis being placed on this highly convoluted backstory. If it is, it will likely alienate the loyal fans who still love the original.
Proceed at you own risk ... and remember, The Owls Are Not What They Seem.
First off a few ground rules - Twin Peaks was required viewing while I studied at university. I loved the first series, got confused by the second and lost the plot with the film. Okay that was a rather over simplification but you get the idea. This series if you have not realised by now is complicated subtle and potentially down right mind bending - its great you cannot imagine (or you can) the number of arguments I had at the end of each episode.
Now on to the book - but first a little explanation - again if you have missed it Twin Peaks is coming back after an almost record breaking hiatus its coming back with almost its entire crew and cast back as before (apart from those sadly no longer with us).
Okay okay back to the book - this book is supposed to be a link or an appetiser to get us back in to the show before it starts again, and yes I think it does a brilliant job of raising the profile but I am not so sure if it answers all those questions I got so heated over all those years ago.
There are some great pieces here (which you will have to find yourself) but I can say that its format - in the style of a real dossier does make reading and continuity a little tricky at times but it does give it an air of what it is trying to be. A missing (and contested) file of all the hidden knowledge of Twin Peaks.
Finally once I get my breath back - this is not really for the new arrival to Twin Peaks or at least if it is watch a few episodes first so you realise what you are getting in to.
I thought this would be a quick/fun/easy read but it turned out to be a mostly dry slog with a lot of time spent on that highly original sci-fi concept: the UFO. There were some interesting tidbits regarding undeveloped characters on the show, but those were mostly buried in the barrage of bureaucracy. This is, however, a beautifully made book and you can see that it was made with attention to detail and a love for the show. Part of the appeal of Twin Peaks, or any Lynchian enterprise for that matter, is the mystery that either totally eludes explanation or verges on some disturbing truth. This book, on the other hand, is dedicated to the opposite of mystery and is somewhat akin to a magician revealing his trick, all it turned out to be was a banal flick of the wrist. The Log Lady's tragic backstory might have been the most interesting part of the book, even though it was only a few pages or so. And am I the only one who was totally unconvinced by the voice that was supposed to be Hawk's? Perhaps I'm being too harsh.
The show, though, is not to be missed. I really enjoyed the first season and then my interest declined as the episodes were being put into the hands of others, but when Lynch and Frost returned before the end of the second season, the show regained its appeal. So there is a middle section where the show turns into an almost too serious parody of soap operas. But then words start to fail when one talks about the newest, third season. It was a transcendent experience. Lynch uses the expectations that are tied to nostalgia in amazingly creative ways. The Return season, structured in an almost anthological way, almost anti-narrative, is mesmerizing, disturbing, confusing, unpredictable, violent, subtle, beautiful, unlike anything else out there, and afterward, it literally haunted my dreams.
The Secret History of Twin Peaks "reproduces" the contents of an FBI file, including official FBI reports (with the occasional redaction thrown in), historic letters, photographs, newsclippings, etc. We also get the typewritten pages of comments by "the Archivist" who has compiled and reviewed these materials, as well as the marginal notations appended to the materials (and sometimes to the Archivist's commentary) by FBI Agent T___ P___ (name redacted). From these letters, news articles and transcripts we get more details about characters and events in the original television series. There is more background, for instance, about the Martell and Packard families, and about characters like Big Ed Hurley and Norma Jennings. We meet a few new characters as well as learning of some secrets that were never even hinted at in the television series.
The "perspective" reflected by the book is a broad one, as the materials included suggest links between the town of Twin Peaks and subjects as various as early American exploration, twentieth century technological advances, secret societies, and the paranormal and occult.
For me, the main problem with The Secret History is its many contradictions, not only of details regarding the fictional world of Twin Peaks as represented in the television show, but in connection to historical events as well (this latter is hard to ignore as in The Secret History Frost has made the effort to relate things in the history of Twin Peaks to various actual historical events, from early American pioneering through the Nixon presidency and beyond). In a couple of instances, through a change of a date or a name, the book even contradicts itself.
I can think of a reason or two for the contradictions, but these are not important. What is important, I think, is how seriously you take the mystery Frost and co-creator David Lynch present in the television show (and that Lynch presents in the film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, and Frost presents in this book and in Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier). If you view the mystery as solvable, based on the clues we have, then you might find this book frustrating, even infuriating (I am not the sort to throw a book across the room, but if I were, I think there would have been a few times when this book would have suddenly found itself airborne). If, though, you see the mystery not as a narrative with a beginning, middle and end, but as a plot device productive of a certain atmosphere or dramatic tension (Lynch never wanted to reveal the identity of the killer in the original television show), then you might find the book annoying with regard to its contradictions, but enjoyable for its deepening of the mystery. (Even if the mystery is not meant to be solved, though, just from an entertainment point of view, it would be easier to immerse oneself in this fictional world if there were agreement among television series, film and books as to the details of the events they represent).
I was not overly bothered by the contradictions. Before starting The Secret History, I finished reading The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer and there were contradictions between that book and the television show as well, particularly with regard to dates. Also, both from reading and hearing about The Secret History in the time prior to my getting a copy, I already knew that this book would contain contradictions).
Overall, I liked reading this book. However, I would be interested to see what changes might be made to the text if a revised edition should ever appear.
The Secret History of Twin Peaks has got to be one of the most thorough and engrossing books ever to be based on a television series. It introduces a level of intrigue and excitement to the Twin Peaks universe that I always suspected was there, lying dormant and waiting for the right time to emerge, but never thought I would see with my own eyes.
The TV show, as many know already, ends on an infuriating cliffhanger, and for decades the only additions to the canon was the poorly-received but still remarkable prequel movie, Fire Walk With Me. Rumors of a continuation bounced around for about 25 years, until Lynch and Frost pulled the rug out from under us and not only announced a third season of the series, but also a novel which would add to the story while prepping the audience for the upcoming continuation. That is this book.
I will refrain from talking about the actual details of the book because the full effect must be gained from upholding the mystery. I can say that the book reads as an in-universe dossier, found at the scene of a crime, and handed off to an unknown FBI agent in the modern day to disseminate and summarize for his superiors. What follows is an incredibly detailed and extensively researched history of this town called Twin Peaks, the surrounding area, and its most important citizens. The FBI agent's primary goal in reviewing this dossier is to determine the identity of its author, known only as The Archivist, but the mysteries and secrets contained in these pages lead us into even more unexpected, and riveting, rabbit holes.
It's safe to say that I couldn't put this book down. The collected documents range from 1800s diary entries, to official Air Force reports, to personal letters written by characters from the show, and Mark Frost's writing is completely airtight and believable in all situations. While the book is by no means short, the pages go by in a whirlwind because of the dense and intricate set of stories being told. Without giving too much away, the themes of historical conspiracy, government coverup, quaint small-town eccentricities, and the occult all come and go in in a dense flurry of information.
It's not perfect, of course. At times the dossier, in the course of being set up as believable and consistent in tone, can become a little dry, but this is usually livened up by the our FBI agent protagonist's copious footnote observations. Also, the parts where we catch up with the residents of Twin Peaks come across as a harsh context switch in the midst of so many stories featuring nonresidents (and even some well-known real-life historical figures). It almost seems sometimes that the Twin Peaks we remember from the TV show is an afterthought in the enormous historical web being spun, but in my opinion the book never strays too far away from this central focus.
Finally, not every fan of the TV series will be happy with the mythology that this novel sets up. Part of the charm of the show was that, amongst a bizarre but charming cast of characters and a gruesome murder investigation, there was something deeply menacing and mysterious at work in the woods surrounding Twin Peaks that the show never really fleshes out. While obviously not all questions are answered in these pages, the details we are provided might lead some to wonder if Frost, and by extension David Lynch himself, finally lost their marbles. Does this book represent a long-delayed "jump the shark moment," built off of the decaying remains of what many saw as the original "shark-jump," that is, the entire second half of season 2?
Maybe, but I suspect that the audience for this book will overwhelmingly approve of the direction Frost takes us. This book is not really meant for those curious adults who watched the show casually in the 1990s, but never reached a level of obsession over it. Nor is it necessarily for the brand-new fan who just finished binging the show on Netflix and is impatiently waiting for season 3 to drop. These readers are obviously not precluded from liking or even loving this book, but I think Mark Frost instead wrote this novel for the superfans out there. The people who went for a long portion of their life agonizing over the unanswered questions and the unsolved mysteries that this little cult TV show left us with in 1991. The fans who moved on to enjoy other items of media, but always kept a special place in their heart for Twin Peaks.
For those people, this book is a gift. It's dense, unpredictable, addicting, and yet still leaves us wanting more. And it excites me to no end that we will, in fact, be getting more in 2017. Long live Twin Peaks.
Enjoyable enough on its own terms, although the bulk of it reads more like an X-FILES tie-in than a deep dive into the world of Twin Peaks. Beautifully put together from a design standpoint and definitely ambitious, but also a little sloppy. The fates of several characters not in the upcoming series are revealed, but continuity sticklers will note a number of discrepancies with the original series/movie. (None of them bothered me much, but your mileage may vary.) The central mystery - the identity of the Archivist - is easily guessed early on. With all that said, though, it kept me turning the pages and I plowed through it pretty quickly. It's not essential by any means, but it's a fun little side-trip.
The Secret History of Twin Peaks by Mark Frost. (2016).
This novel is different (just like the TV show haha). It is written in the form of a dossier and includes typewritten sections as well as 'handwritten cursive' sections; both with annotations by the character 'analysing the dossier'. While this is quite a cool concept, sometimes it was hard to read the handwritten notes. If you've watched Twin Peaks (the old series), you'll enjoy the references but if you haven't then you'll definitely get a few spoilers. Surprisingly a lot of the 'history' wasn't related to the TV series, it was more about general history of the area mixed in with conspiracy theories, UFO sightings and government investigations into extraterrestrial activity. I enjoyed the book; it did take me quite a while to get through in comparison to how quickly I normally read.
Ah, Twin Peaks. It's not the easiest show to love. I had a hard time getting into it. The original two seasons at first felt very dated, the acting seemed stiff and at times almost comically bad, and there were so many characters with such complicated relationships that I still can't believe the show got to be as popular as it did. Oh no, when I started watching Twin Peaks, I hated it. So I quit. Twice, actually — first time halfway through the 90 minute pilot, the second time after the other half. A lot of time has passed, and I thought we parted ways with Twin Peaks for good.
But then The Return came, and I decided to watch it. Suddenly, everything changed. I started to get into it! Showtime together with David Lynch and Mark Frost created an extraordinary thing: they made an actually good revival of something, maybe even better than the original. And while I can't say The Return was perfect by any means, it still was an incredible experience and it absolutely made my entire summer of 2017. The Return actually made me interested in going back and finally watching the original series, and that's exactly what I did. After the first four episodes of the new show premiered, I went back and watched all 30 episodes of the original series. And then Fire Walk With Me. And then The Missing Pieces. By the time I finished I was absolutely in love with Peaks and its entire crazy mythology, its quirky characters and its weird blend of soap opera, supernatural horror and downright arthouse abstractionism.
Then The Return ended, and oh my god, what an ending. It was so... creepy, and crazy, and scary, and hard to believe. It felt like I lost something when the show finished, like somebody took something important away from me. Very few TV shows have ever affected me in such a way. So I needed something to fill that void, and Mark Frost's canonical book, The Secret History of Twin Peaks, seemed like a perfect choice. Was it really? Hard to say.
It's a fascinating book, for sure. Mark Frost is a phenomenal world builder, and this book is a testament to his talent. He takes real American history, actual conspiracy theories, real historical figures, and he mixes it all up with the mythology of Peaks, the Lodges, and aliens. It's brilliant in a way, and well written, to the point where you're not sure which of the crazy things you're reading about are actually true, and which are fiction.
Despite its name though, the book doesn't have that much to do with Twin Peaks. Yes, there are some familiar characters mentioned in several sections of the book, but really, it's not about the town of Twin Peaks at all. The book is more about expanding the universe of the show, rather than delving deeper into the history of the city (although it does some of that, too).
The book can also occasionally feel like you're watching that TV channel that only crazy and stoned people watch. You know, the one with all the shows about aliens, lizard people, Sumerians and all that, accompanied by the interviews with certified nut jobs. I guess it's fitting, since the book is about various conspiracy theories, but sometimes I was wondering if I actually wanted to spend my time reading about that stuff.
Despite all that, I really enjoyed The Secret History. I wouldn't say it's a mandatory read for Peaks fans, but it's certainly a fascinating view at the bigger picture of the show's mythology. And mythology is a huge part of Twin Peaks, so if you're into the show, you might as well check out the book. It didn't really help me understand the show better, though, and I doubt anyone, or anything ever will. Maybe except for some damn fine coffee...
Because my best friend is the best and purchased this book in gorgeous hardcover for me for Christmas, I will be reading this before new episodes of the show come out.
I hear the steady buzzing sound of the sawmill in the background, midgets are dancing to tuneless melodies all around me, Audrey is putting on her red shoes, logs are telling their secrets, fish are sweetly percolating, coffee and cherry pie are being consumed in droves, and the owls are definitely not what they seem.
This was a really interesting book, which I listened to for the full cast experience. Luckily I was able to stay focused pretty well, even though audiobooks are more difficult for me. It was a great way to ease out of binge watching the tv show and still get to experience some of my favorite characters. I most loved learning the backgrounds of certain characters, such as Douglas Milford and the log lady. It amused me that in places Twin Peaks is described as being in northwest Washington, and in other places as only 12 miles west of the state line. It was also interesting to see some dots connected while other parts just bring more questions. I will definitely be reading the sequel.
I've forgotten how to obsess over something. When I was younger I went all in on a lot of stuff. If I found myself attracted to something, I had to find out everything there was to know about it. Like when I discovered books by Joe R. Lansdale. Or when I found the music of Nick Cave. Or when I saw my first film by David Lynch. I don't do that anymore. I don't know why that is. Have I reached a point where I just don't care enough to obsess over something?
The Secret History of Twin Peaks brought it all back to me. I figured it was going to be just another ho-hum media tie-in for the new season in 2017. Just something to reintroduce you to beloved characters and maybe let you know what some of them have been up to in the last 25 years. But no, this book is vastly different from what I expected.
From page one, I knew I was hooked. It opened up a whole new way of looking at the series. It goes all the way back to when Lewis and Clark first discovered Twin Peaks, and it gets into some serious esoteric American history. Some of it was just so crazy that I had to look it up. There was no way that there was documentation of this in real life.
Surprise! Nearly everything in this book has been documented, regardless of truth or falsity, in real life. Real life conspiracies that I've never even heard of, and I go deep with conspiracies. Author Mark Frost has merely bent them to suit his purposes.
My favorite of the bunch is Jack Parsons, though. I've never even heard of the guy before, and it turns out that he was one of the most important innovators of the 20th century. It also turns out that he was a real life version of a Lovecraft character. He genuinely thought he could summon entities if he put his mind to it. Take the occult side away from him, and he's Howard Stark. He even looked like the Dominic Cooper portrayal of the character.
Another thing that surprised me was how incredibly important minor characters on the show are to the secret history, in particular the aged mayor and his brother, Doug Milford. Without Milford this book would fall apart. We also get to learn a lot more about Big Ed and his love life and his military service, and we get a peek at Dr. Jacoby's studies before he came back to Twin Peaks. I love the cover blurbs he gets from Jerry Garcia and Timothy Leary. And the entry on Josie is pretty crazy. We all knew she was a swindler, but it goes deeper than we ever suspected. I was surprised to find that Hawk doesn't like his nickname and considers it to be racist. It turns out his first name is Tommy, so . . .
I am in love with the structure of this book. It is a genuine mystery, and we're trying to figure the whole thing out. The dossier is composed by two people, and one of them is the Archivist. We all know it must be a character from the TV show, but we have to figure out who. All the evidence is there, you just have to put the pieces together. He eventually reveals himself, and I'm super excited that I was correct in my guess.
The best part is that we're reading the dossier with the agent assigned to investigate it. The mysterious TP is an interesting filter to read through. For the most part he (or is it she?) is all business, but there are moments when TP gets a little personal. TP is a skeptic, but (s)he gets unsettled with a lot of the information in the dossier. I tried figuring out who TP is, but I was disappointed when TP's identity was revealed on the very last page. It's a character we haven't met before. Maybe we'll get to see him/her in season 3.
I have to wonder how much of this was in Frost's mind from the start. Did he and Lynch plan for this from the very beginning? If so, they play a very good long game. I hope some of this makes its way onto season 3.
As I've seen the entirety of Twin Peaks (up to S03E07) for the first time over the last 4-5 weeks, I have a weirdly compressed view of the series, and noticed details and continuity errors in the book with an intensity that seems out of proportion with my length of acquaintance with a show that, after having not been allowed to watch it when other kids at school were, I hadn't been especially bothered about getting round to for 26 years - until a handful of separate friends each started getting excited about The Return.
X-Files fans may particularly like this book as there's a fuckton of material about UFOs - which, I confess, have always slightly bored me. (Though it does me good to read something outside my usual pet topics from time to time, and I did enjoy the book as a light read.) Although most of the book lacks the sense of artistic erudition and inventiveness of the series, it does play a few games, and I think that, in this instance, it might be playing to the idea of Twin Peaks as the progenitor of The X-Files... Personally I prefer its Northern Exposure side.
This book isn't necessarily produced for those looking for great literature. Though the pieces written as Lawrence Jacoby are rather good and more interesting than plenty of workaday litfic. (Jacoby on screen seems like he escaped from a Pynchon novel - I don't mean the writing's quite that good - every time I see him I think I must get round to watching the film of Inherent Vice.) Why, I kept wondering, if Frost can write that well, aren't a couple of the other characters better writers, and more convincing in the correspondence of their voices on the page with the voices of the characters in the series? I can't hear provocative brunette FBI agent Tammy in her annotations at all, and she doesn't deal with the material much like the history major she says she was.
Some of the continuity errors are stonking. What on earth is going on with all the differences from the series in the story of how Ed and Nadine got together? (And a man on the moon stamp postmarked April 1969 on a postcard from Norma and Hank??) How come this story is written by Hawk? Harry was more obviously Ed's mate, someone who'd make sense to tell that story from the viewpoint of one of Ed's friends among the Bookhouse Boys (a group which makes a little more sense to me now, even if certain characters' favourite books don't sound right; surely Cooper's would be something more erudite or spiritual than the report on the assassination of JFK?) It was cool to read something by Hawk ... I figure the author[s] realised that and cobbled together this rather awkward piece to shoehorn in.
The book is almost comical in its endeavour to tie major conspiracy theories and unsolved mysteries together, and subtly to events in Twin Peaks, including: Meriweather Lewis, lacunae in his expedition accounts and the controversy over his death; Freemasonry and the Illuminati; Indian curses; Roswell and other UFO mysteries; the assassination of JFK; defence researcher and Thelema dabbler Jack Parsons who was defrauded of both cash and ideas by L. Ron Hubbard. (The Twin Peaks team, unlike some Hollywood notables, are evidently quite happy to be on the wrong side of Scientologists. Transcendental Meditation may be needlessly expensive compared with other forms of meditation, but it's nowhere near so multifacetedly pernicious as Scientology.) The book occasionally realises its absurdity, as Tammy notes And what does Doug Milford do for his next act, sprinkle poison in Fidel Castro’s beard? Board a UFO with Elvis? Kill JFK?—TP. Yes, here you will see a whole different side to Twin Peaks' Waldorf and Statler - and the formidable individuals they were before they became slippered pantaloons. And that bloody ring, it's practically Tolkienesque. And talking of derivations, having thought of Twin Peaks as its own, more or less original, mythos, I was disappointed to learn that Aleister Crowley had talked of a Black Lodge and a White Lodge... (I'd hoped they were based on First Nations lore, if they weren't Lynch's own. Yet otherwise, and in line with recent developments in the way American history is popularly written and taught, there is more prominence given to Indians' role in the origin of things, and of the war crimes against them by white settlers.) Multiple esoteric ideas are drawn together, yet nebulously; a sort of key to all mythologies without concrete form. (I am much more interested in ancient pre-Christian myths and monuments than in UFOs, yet here they are seen as not different, but a sort of one-ness without the embarrassing specifics about aliens building the Pyramids.)
Fans who get a buzz from this type of esoterica may get most out of the book, as there's more of it here than there is on background to the characters, though there's some of that too. With which it relatively often credits the reader with the ability to draw their own conclusions - e.g. 'so that must have been the original BOB' - rather than spelling everything out, as some publications of this type may do. (Yet it also raises odd new questions, such as the significance - in-jokey or otherwise - of Andrew Packard's fake passport in the name of Anton Walbrook.) It only explains a very little relating to the new series - and it made at least one point more puzzling (relates to S03E01 ); however, as a further book is in the works for autumn publication, that sort of thing may be explained there, if it isn't in the new TV show itself.
[Maybe I'd have noticed relevance earlier if I'd read this book earlier, but it seems like a good time to have read The Secret History of Twin Peaks, just prior to episode 8 with its long sequences captioned White Sands, Mexico 1945.]
was billed as a bridge between the two series but we learn almost nothing about what happened to anyone in the interim. there's more in here about Nixon and L Ron Hubbard than about Cooper, yes I am serious.
"Совите не са това, което изглеждат…, …но ни напомнят да се вглеждаме в мрака."
Интересна идея и впечатляващо оформление, които като фен на сериала, няма как да не оценя високо.
Да, на места има по-скоро излишни подробности за героите, но пък и такива разкриващи и допълващи образите/преживяванията им (гледайки сериала съм се чудила за някои неща и детайли, които сега ми се изясниха). Може би очакванията ми като цяло бяха за нещо по-динамично, провокиращо, смущаващо, загадъчно, нещо повече около агент Купър и случващото се отвъд червените завеси, но явно замисълът е друг. Все пак определени моменти от книгата са наистина любопитни и увлекателни за четене.
„Винаги ще идват мрачни времена, също както денят се сменя с нощта. Мрачна епоха ще постави на изпитание всички ни без изключение. Вярвайте и не треперете пред неизвестното. То не ще остане неизвестно за дълго време.“
This is a guilty pleasure for a lot of reasons for the TWIN PEAKS completist. Especially in audiobook form, being able to hear the actors reprise their iconic roles succeeded in making me giddy as a schoolboy on a first date (had i gone on any back then). The best parts were easily the parts of the dossier that read like theater monologues since they stand on their own and are not just character backstories but emotionally charged outpourings of melodrama that reference incidents from the show but from a slightly different angle. However, alot of the arcane knowledge in this compendium, frankly, seems like filler that doesn't really go anywhere especially in regards to the connections that involve the military industrial complex and bizarre figures like occultist Jack Parsons but since I am into lore of this kind I was okay with it. I especially admired the ambition of the project to connect historical figures with American folklore even when some of it was not sucessful and came across as cheesy as Lynch's allusions to Oz in WILD AT HEART. Nevertheless, as a way to reaquaint oneself with the denizens of Twin Peaks you could do much worse.
Titel: Den hemmelige historie om Twin Peaks. Forfatter: Mark Frost. Sider: 362 sider. Forlag: Politikens Forlag. Udgivelsesår: 2017. Anmeldereksemplar: Politikens Forlag ★★★★
“En klog mand fortalte mig engang, at mysterier er den vigtigste ingrediens i livet af følgende grund: Mysterier skaber forundring, der fører til nysgerrighed, som er grundlaget for vores trang til at forstå, hvem og hvad vi virkelig er.”
I maj udkom Den hemmelige historie om Twin Peaks på dansk, og fans af af kultserien fra 90’erne, der netop har fået sin tredje sæson, kan godt glæde sig til endnu mere mystik og damn good coffee. Bogens opsætning er en oplevelse i sig selv, da den ikke kun indeholder veldokumenteret plot og masser af spænding, men også et imponerende grafisk layout, der trækker læseren direkte ind i Mark Frost og David Lynch’s mystiske univers.
The owls are not, what they seem! Det er 25 år siden, at FBI-agenten Dale Cooper på mytisk vis forsvandt i den lille bjergtagende, dougnutsspisende by Twin Peaks i staten Washington. Men nu har man i FBI-arkiver fundet en kasse fyldt med omhyggeligt indsamlet arkivmateriale, og ingen ved, hvem kassen tilhører. Den afslører hidtil skjult viden om flere af indbyggerne i den mystiske by Twin Peaks, og da en ung FBI-agent bliver sat til at gennemgå materialet, fletter hendes notater og overvejelser om det, hun finder, sig sammen med de noter og overvejelser, kassens ophavsmand har efterladt. Det bliver til en form for dialog mellem de to hen over de 25 år, der er gået, siden promqueen Laura Palmer døde. Et mord Dale Cooper opklarede, hvorefter han forsvandt.
Dosseriet tager os med tilbage til 1800-tallets Nordamerika, eventyrlige ekspeditioner, uopklarede mord, en forsvunden ring med uglesymbol, mulige fund af tidligere civilisationer af hvide indianere og en race af kæmper, mystiske frimurerloger og Illuminati-forræderi mod Præsident Jefferson. Detektivarbejde møder historisk fiktion i bedste stil, og det er med den samme rationelle tvivlen, som vi kender fra TP universet, at vi som læser bladrer videre i gamle dokumenter og private dagbogsoptegnelser. Vi skal dog et stykke igennem bogen, og holde styr på alle detaljer som en ren Sherlock Holmes, før vi får en lille smule binding på fortællingen. Men igen, så er det Gordon Coles sag, og det er Mark Frost, så alt er ikke, hvad det ser ud til, og vi undres stadig.
Para gente muy fan de Twin Peaks, pero mucho. Aunque no lo parezca, Mark Frost es la otra cabeza pensante de Twin Peaks y no seré yo la que diga que no hizo su parte y por lo tanto, también tiene derecho a su parte del pastel. Este libro es por un año anterior a 'the return' y viendo el giro de los acontecimientos, creo que no le dejaron meter mucho la cuchara en la 3 temporada. Es una colección de 'documentos' que pretende ampliar el origen de los misterios de la serie y la peli, nos mete algo de historia americana y mucho sobre ovnis. Lo más interesante para mi son las historias de los Mildford y Lanterman. El resto aporta poco y en una dirección obviamente errónea. Para frikis de TP, ya lo he dicho, de ahí que se lleve 4⭐ y no 2 si es que lo merece. Tiene alguna foto buena, pero nada fuera del merchan habitual.
The Secret History of Twin Peaks, written by series co-creator Mark Frost, offers a “factual” look at the history of the fictional town that was the setting for the early 1990s television series. The book is presented as a dossier compiled by “The Archivist” and then interpreted by an unreliable FBI agent narrator who goes by the initials “TP.”
Frost excels at integrating fact with fiction. The book opens with scanned copies of journal entries written by none other than Lewis and Clark during an expedition to the Pacific Northwest. Then the dossier reveals evidence of Roswell crashes, UFO sightings over Seattle’s Mount Rainier, the secret military base where Richard Nixon allegedly revealed to his good friend, Jackie Gleason, proof of extraterrestrial life, and more. And then connects all these “real” controversies back to fictional characters and the town of Twin Peaks.
A truly fantastic, enveloping experience for anyone who’s a fan of the original series, The Secret History of Twin Peaks also answers questions that were left open after the show was canceled by ABC in 1991 (though by the end of the book the reader is left with far more questions than answers). Readers are urged to keep an eye on the sky and through the trees. When you’re ready, grab a cup of some damn fine coffee, set the record player on low, and discover The Secret History of Twin Peaks.