The Secret History of Twin Peaks (2016) by Mark Frost

A gorgeous, beautifully designed coffee table book full of mysteries and secrets in the world of “Twin Peaks”.

The jacket calls the book “A Secret History of Twin Peaks: A Novel“, but in terms of form, it really is not a novel. It’s a collection of photos, newspaper clippings, journals, letters, dossiers, classified documents, and the like, with intermittent commentary forming a thoroughline to give something of a coherent narrative to the book. It all works rather well. I don’t find reading footnotes always a pleasant experience – too diverting and distracting to really “settle in” – but it works well for a fictional “non-fiction” book like this, where the idea is to immerse you in what purports to be classified documents and the like.

The construction of the book, and the art inside it, is magnificent. Truly a beautiful book. The cover is embossed nicely, and the jacket is quite stylish. The book abounds with great art, and all the various included texts – restaurant menus, top secret military reports, bills of sale, etc. – look very realistic.

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In terms of the text itself, it does little in the way of answering mysteries or setting up the upcoming third season of “Twin Peaks”. I’m not sure I’d even call it a mood-setter for the new season; it feels more like its own thing. Author Mark Frost clearly is fascinated by certain events in American history, and his passion for them bleed through. I particularly enjoyed the sections on Lewis and Clark, and Richard Nixon. The book is more a examination of mysterious elements of American history through the lens of the “Twin Peaks” world and style, than anything else.

The book has a few continuity “errors”, but I highly doubt they weren’t deliberate. There’s suggestions of alternate realities and the like, and the book opens with a big diatribe on the difference between mysteries (unknowable things interesting to ponder on) and secrets (things malevolently hidden, changed, covered up), then titles itself “The Secret History of Twin Peaks”, so I feel like any misdirection within the book is intentional.

It’s a very stylish, enjoyable book to sink into, but nothing critical for the series, and probably not hugely interesting to people without an interest in the American history topics it primarily centres on. I give it three slices of cherry pie, and a cup of coffee.

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