Five Books to Read Now that Twin Peaks is Over
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Fans had to wait to wait twenty-five years for Twin Peaks to return. Just as the original series took the reigning genre of the nineties—the soap opera—and not only subverted it but transmuted it, by David Lynch’s signature alchemical process, into something rich and strange, Twin Peaks: The Return took contemporary prestige television and turned it inside-out to create something wholly new.
Not that anyone is exactly sure what it was. The finale left us plenty to chew over. I mean, the show’s final line was ‘What year is it?’ Some reviewers have suggested that the show’s finale reframed the whole of Twin Peaks as the dream of a man in a coma (who presumably would want to know what year it is as he wakes up), while others have pointed out that Twin Peaks: The Return felt in some ways like a retrospective of Lynch’s own life and career. Meanwhile self-appointed Blue Rose investigators have combed through the original Twin Peaks and the prequel movie Fire Walk With Me to devise a theory of The Return’s ending: Agent Dale Cooper is the eternal white knight, locked forever in a struggle for the soul of Laura Palmer with a malevolent entity called Judy.
Speculating about the meanings of Twin Peaks, both literal and metaphorical, is a way for fans to prolong the pleasure of a show which, even in its most surreal and terrifying moments, always felt strangely comforting. In the end, though, no explanation of Cooper’s story will lay to rest the haunted feeling Twin Peaks left us with.
It’s better to go looking for that feeling elsewhere. Lately I’ve been picking up books which offer some of the things that made Twin Peaks so enchanting: dreamlike wanderings, intrusions of the supernatural into homely American realism, nuclear grandeur, dogged FBI agents and Tibetan method. So if you’re still suffering Twin Peaks withdrawal, here are five novels to put on your shelf next to your Twin Peaks Director’s Cut DVD.