In Dreams: A Unified Interpretation of Twin Peaks & Other Selected Works of David Lynch, by H Perry Horton (Books 2019, 7)


This is an incredible piece of work, about an incredible body of work.

I don’t recall how I heard about it. I think I saw a tweet, or something, thought it looked interesting, and instantly bought it because it was only a few quid on Kindle. It’s a huge book which tries — successfully, in my mind — to explain how the bulk of David Lynch’s creative works can be considered part of a single story, which Horton refers to as The Dream.

Now obviously Twin Peaks, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, and Twin Peaks: The Return are all part of the same story. As are the various spinoff books: Jennifer Lynch’s The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer and Scott Frost’s The Autobiography of FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper: My LIfe, My Tapes, from back around the time of the original broadcast; and Mark Frost’s more recent The Secret History of Twin Peaks and Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier, which I’ve written about here.

But Horton argues that the whole story gets kicked off in Eraserhead, and that Blue Velvet, Lost Highway, Mulholland Dr and Inland Empire are side stories related to the main branch. The overall story being about an eternal being, The Dreamer, who dreams reality into existence, and also creates another being, known as Jowday, or Judy, who becomes his adversary. BOB, the possessing spirit of the original Twin Peaks, is a creation of this entity, and the Black and White Lodges are the vanguards in the battle between the two beings.

Sure, on one level it’s just good vs evil, heaven & hell — “just,” I say, as if that wasn’t enough. But the sheer scope of it is astonishing. The eighteen hours of The Return has been hailed as an incredible masterpiece of visual storytelling. But when you include all that I’ve listed above, and three of Lynch’s paintings to boot — it must be one of the greatest — in terms of size, at least — creative works by a single visionary. True, it’s far from being by a single creator, but the vision behind it is solely or primarily Lynch’s, or that of Lynch and Mark Frost.

And even if the connections to the other films are just in Horton’s head (and, to be fair, those of others whose work he acknowledges): the obviously-connected stuff is still amazing, and the current work, Horton’s book that I’m writing about, is something a of a creative triumph itself.

One that is slightly marred by its self-published nature and obvious lack of an editor — there are a lot of typos — but a hugely impressive one nonetheless.

Though obviously it’s only for the very serious Twin Peaks fan.

In Dreams: A Unified Interpretation of Twin Peaks & Other Selected Works of David Lynch, by H Perry Horton (Books 2019, 7)

Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier by Mark Frost (Books 2018, 5)

I watched the new series of Twin Peaks in January, but haven’t got round to writing about it yet. In part, maybe, because I knew I wanted to read this. In part, because I want to watch it all again.

The series was amazing: an incredible, beautiful, challenging piece of art. But, as always with Twin Peaks,1 there was the question at the back of my mind: is he using surrealism to raise real questions, to investigate mysteries, to raise our consciousness? Or is it just weirdness for weirdness’s sake?2

In the end I lean towards the former. Maybe the whole thing is like a zen koan: if a portal opens in Ghostwood Forest and no-one is there to see it, what will come through?

Anyway, addressing the book at hand, what we have is quite a short volume which is presented as being a report from FBI Special Agent Tamara Preston to Deputy Director Gordon Cole (played by Lynch himself in the show, of course). Its ostensible purpose is for her to summarise what she and the Bureau have learned from the events that the recent series covered, and some other offscreen investigations. It follows on from, and comments on, last year’s Secret History of Twin Peaks.

Much of it repeats what was in the series, but it does add detail and help to clarify some things. For example it’s probably not a spoiler to confirm that the girl in the 1950s in the glorious nightmare of episode 8 was, indeed, Sarah Palmer, as Warren Ellis has speculated. (It was in his newsletter, which doesn’t seem to have a public archive.)

But it also follows up on what happened to most of the characters from the the original series that we didn’t hear about in the new one, giving us much-needed closure. Or at least convincing us that the creators didn’t totally forget about Donna, for example. Along the way it does what the new series failed to do, in that it answers the question raised at the end of the original series: “How’s Annie?”

It’s worth reading, but it doesn’t remove the need for me to watch the whole new series again.


  1. And maybe with all of David Lynch’s work. []
  2. “Everybody’s wild at heart and weird on top.” []
Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier by Mark Frost (Books 2018, 5)