The Secret History of Twin Peaks by Mark Frost (2016) (read in 2017)

Published by marco on

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an interest in this book, then I’m happy for you.

The book starts a bit slowly, but quickly picks up pace as the early mythology of the TP universe starts to weave into parts we know from the TV show. The story is told from the point-of-view of an FBI agent pulling together all of the threads, assisted immensely by a research document put together by someone called The Archivist. The agent’s contributions are solely in footnotes. It is there that ze[1] pursues the identity of the Archivist.

The story weaves in every UFO and presidential and military conspiracy theory known in the States, with JFK and Nixon featuring prominently. The ur-myth of Twin Peaks is rooted in the terror that the world has at the discovery and use of nuclear weapons—and the accompanying caution with which this discovery is observed by other beings. I say “other beings” because it is clear that the term “extra-terrestrial” is explicitly not appropriate. While the term “otherworldly” might fit, it’s clear that there is a strong likelihood that these beings have been on the planet longer than sentient mankind.

It’s an interesting story, nicely told. I read it after watching all three seasons and it was quite satisfying.

In the end, the author’s initials TP stand for Tamara Preston. The identity of the Archivist? Major Garland Briggs.

The format is not very E-book–friendly. It includes many newspaper clippings that can only be properly read—especially in dimmed light—by zooming in and panning. They do, however, lend a realistic, investigative feel to the material, though they slow down reading considerably.

[1] He or she.


“And then she started following Ed whenever he went to the Double R. Just staring at him and Norma through the window while he’s at the counter minding his own business. By now he’s getting the idea his little firecracker might be carrying an extra load of powder, and of course he doesn’t know what to do about”
Location 1951-1953
“PRESIDENT NIXON: In my experience, what defines a crime depends on who’s getting screwed.”
Location 2609-2610
“The years I’d spent among authentic native people had left me bored to death with the garden-variety neuroses of “modern Americans.” The maladaptations of disaffected housewives and hostile teenagers were symptomatic to me of a larger, collective societal disorder—all right, I’ll Cliff Note them for you: rising corporate greed, enabled by institutional corruption, fueled and distorted by dirty money, leading to generalized rampant materialism, militant ignorance, military triumphalism and widespread loss of spiritual authenticity—that was eating away at the foundation of our culture.”
Location 3022-3026 by Jacoby
“We are creatures of darkness and light, capable of barbarism and limitless cruelty, and also love, and laughter and the creation of the most sublime beauty. We are both these things, clearly, but which are we more of? I don’t know the answer. Is “evil” a thing—independent, outside of us—or is it an essential part of who we are? I don’t know the answer. Life is but a dream from which we seem able to only rarely awaken. Whatever it means is beyond words. Words lose their meaning when you look at them too long. “God.” “Science.” “Meaning.” Everything melts into silence. The trades have eased. The whitecaps are gone and there’s sunlight on the water. I’m going to go bury my brother now.”
Location 3075-3081 by Jacoby
“After he was escorted in to view his brother’s body in the honeymoon suite that morning–wearing only a smile no mortician in his right mind would try to remove–Dwayne tried to persuade Sheriff Truman to press homicide charges, claiming that a copy of the Kama Sutra found at the scene was the murder weapon. That was grief disguised as bluster; Dwayne, I believe, despite their quarrelsome differences, truly loved his brother. Of course nothing came of Dwayne’s talk about manslaughter. If anything, as news of the circumstances of his death leaked out, there was–among his male friends–universal envy that Doug Milford had stage-managed the perfect exit from the cockeyed caravan of life. As one of them–who shall remain nameless–said to me that day: “If that was manslaughter, sign me up.””
Location 3157-3162
“BRIGGS: You’re not who I thought you were. MILFORD: I’m the white rabbit, drawing you closer to the rabbit hole. And like the rabbit, I’m late for a very important date. You’re my replacement, Garland. You’re going to become the Watcher in the Woods. (The colonel rolled up his sleeve, revealing a series of three triangular marks or tattoos on the inside of his forearm.)”
Location 3239-3242
““A secret’s only a secret as long as you keep it. Once you tell someone it loses all its power–for good or ill–like that, it’s just another piece of information. But a real mystery can’t be solved, not completely. It’s always just out of reach, like a light around the corner; you might catch a glimpse of what it reveals, feel its warmth, but you can’t know the heart of it, not really. That’s what gives it value: It can’t be cracked, it’s bigger than you and me, bigger than everything we know. Those tight-ass suits can keep their secrets, they don’t add up to anything. This deep in the game, pal, I’ll take mystery every time.”
Location 3264-3269
Location 3397-3398