Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier
By Mark Frost. (Flatiron Books, 160 pages, $21.99.)
When "Twin Peaks: The Return" wrapped up its 18-hour run, viewers who'd stuck with the challenging series were left baffled, dismayed, grateful, and perhaps amazed. The Showtime series wasn't a kitschy compendium of '90s cliches, with damn-good-coffee, cherry pie, soapy subplots, and quirky locals being mysterious. It seemed like 100 percent pure David Lynch — a quality that endeared it to some and alienated others.
But it wasn't 100 percent Lynch. It was co-written by Lynch's collaborator for the original series, Mark Frost. Perhaps Frost felt some authorial obligation to the world he helped create and the people who inhabited it, and wrote "Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier" to put a bow around some stories and usher others off into the great smoky mystery where minor characters live out their lives.
Does it answer all questions? No. Does it have a plot, a story? No. But if you're more interested in knowing what the author thinks about Donald Trump than what happened to Audrey Horne, it's for you.
Told in the voice of Agent Tammy, the book attempts to wrap up the hanging plot details left over from "Return," as well as filling us in on missing characters. Donna Hayward, for example: the best friend of the sainted Laura Palmer left town to pursue a career in modeling. Drink and drugs brought her low. Then she went back home and is studying to be a nurse practitioner.
Well, nice to see she turned her life around, but the details are scant.
The stories are told in summation, like a book report. Every chapter is a book report, albeit written by a saucy FBI agent with literary pretensions.
By the way, forgive the stains on this page; writing this as I enjoy yet another delicious and oh-so-flaky chicken pot pie — third night in a row! — from that same local quarter-star bistro, the greasy spoon you keep raving about with the pie and the coffee. Pardon me, Gordon, but on the whole, to quote William Claude Dukenfield, I'd rather be in Philadelphia, where you are undoubtedly luxuriating at this very moment in your silk smoking jacket, enjoying a fruity French Bordeaux with another one of your imported "nieces." Sorry. Trigger warning: Repeated and prolonged proximity to moribund logging communities set off my misanthropy.
She's addressing her boss, by the way.
Is it really the final dossier? There was enough ambiguity in "Return" to warrant another series. You hope Frost will co-write — and use the good stuff that didn't make it into "Final Dossier."
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End
By Atul Gawande (Picador Reprint, 304 pages, $16).
Gawande is a surgeon, a Harvard professor and a staff writer for the New Yorker, and if you're a regular reader of that publication, you're well-acquainted with his thoughtful writing about modern medicine. This book, in which he examines aging and death, spent a year on the New York Times bestseller list, and was named a top book of the year by numerous publications.