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Room to Dream
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Room to Dream
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An unprecedented look into the personal and creative life of the visionary auteur David Lynch, through his own words and those of his closest colleagues, friends, and...
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An unprecedented look into the personal and creative life of the visionary auteur David Lynch, through his own words and those of his closest colleagues, friends, and...
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  • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER An unprecedented look into the personal and creative life of the visionary auteur David Lynch, through his own words and those of his closest colleagues, friends, and family

    "Insightful . . . an impressively industrious and comprehensive account of Lynch's career."—The New York Times Book Review

    In this unique hybrid of biography and memoir, David Lynch opens up for the first time about a life lived in pursuit of his singular vision, and the many heartaches and struggles he's faced to bring his unorthodox projects to fruition. Lynch's lyrical, intimate, and unfiltered personal reflections riff off biographical sections written by close collaborator Kristine McKenna and based on more than one hundred new interviews with surprisingly candid ex-wives, family members, actors, agents, musicians, and colleagues in various fields who all have their own takes on what happened.
    Room to Dream is a landmark book that offers a onetime all-access pass into the life and mind of one of our most enigmatic and utterly original living artists.
    With insights into . . .
    Eraserhead
    The Elephant Man
    Dune
    Blue Velvet
    Wild at Heart
    Twin Peaks
    Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me
    Lost Highway
    The Straight Story
    Mulholland Drive
    INLAND EMPIRE
    Twin Peaks: The Return

Excerpts-

  • From the book Chapter 1

    David Lynch's mother was a city person and his father was from the country. That's a good place to begin this story, because this is a story of dualities. "It's all in such a tender state, all this flesh, and it's an imperfect world," Lynch has observed, and that understanding is central to everything he's made.1 We live in a realm of opposites, a place where good and evil, spirit and matter, faith and reason, innocent love and carnal lust, exist side by side in an uneasy truce; Lynch's work resides in the complicated zone where the beautiful and the damned collide.

    Lynch's mother, Edwina Sundholm, was the descendant of Finnish immigrants and grew up in Brooklyn. She was bred on the smoke and soot of cities, the smell of oil and gasoline, artifice and the eradication of nature; these things are an integral part of Lynch and his worldview. His paternal great-grandfather homesteaded land in the wheat country near Colfax, Washington, where his son, Austin Lynch, was born in 1884. Lumber mills and soaring trees, the scent of freshly mowed lawns, starry nighttime skies that only exist far from the cities—these things are part of Lynch, too.

    David Lynch's grandfather became a homesteading wheat farmer like his father, and after meeting at a funeral, Austin and Maude Sullivan, a girl from St. Maries, Idaho, were married. "Maude was educated and raised our father to be really motivated," said Lynch's sister, Martha Levacy, of her grandmother, who was the teacher in the one-room schoolhouse on the land she and her husband owned near Highwood, Montana.2

    Austin and Maude Lynch had three children: David Lynch's father, Donald, was the second, and he was born on December 4th, 1915, in a house without running water or electricity. "He lived in a desolate place and he loved trees because there were no trees on the prairie," said David's brother, John. "He was determined not to be a farmer and live on the prairie, so he went into forestry."3

    Donald Lynch was doing graduate work in entomology at Duke University, in Durham, North Carolina, when he met Edwina Sundholm in 1939. She was there doing undergraduate work with a double major in German and English, and they crossed paths during a walk in the woods; she was impressed by his courtesy when he held back a low-hanging branch to allow her to pass. On January 16th, 1945, they married in a navy chapel on Mare Island, California, twenty-three miles northeast of San Francisco, and a short time later Donald landed a job as a research scientist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Missoula, Montana. It was there that he and his wife began building a family.

    David Keith Lynch was their first child. Born in Missoula on January 20th, 1946, he was two months old when the family moved to Sandpoint, Idaho, where they spent two years while Donald worked for the Department of Agriculture there. They were living in Sandpoint in 1948 when David's younger brother, John, was born, but he, too, came into the world in Missoula: Edwina Lynch—known as Sunny—returned to Missoula to deliver her second child. Later that year the family moved to Spokane, Washington, where Martha was born in 1949. The family spent 1954 in Durham while Donald completed his studies at Duke, returned to Spokane briefly, then settled in Boise, Idaho, in 1955, where they remained until 1960. It was there that David Lynch spent the most significant years of his childhood.

    The period following World War II was the perfect time to be a child in the United States. The Korean War ended in 1953, blandly reassuring two-term President Dwight Eisenhower was in the White House from 1953 through 1961, the natural world...

About the Author-

  • David Lynch advanced to the front ranks of international cinema in 1977 with the release of his first film, the startlingly original Eraserhead. Since then, Lynch has been nominated for two best director Academy Awards for The Elephant Man and Blue Velvet, was awarded the Palme d'Or for Wild at Heart, swept the country with Twin Peaks mania in 1990 when his groundbreaking television series premiered on ABC, and has established himself as an artist of tremendous range and wit. He is the author of a previous book on Transcendental Meditation, Catching the Big Fish.

    Kristine McKenna
    is a widely published critic and journalist who wrote for the Los Angeles Times from 1977 through 1998, and has been a close friend and interviewer of David Lynch since the Eraserhead days of 1977. Her profiles and criticism have appeared in Artforum, The New York Times, Artnews, Vanity Fair, The Washington Post, and Rolling Stone. Her books include Tripping and two collections of interviews.

Reviews-

  • Library Journal

    September 15, 2017

    This unique peek into the imagination of one-of-a-kind filmmaker Lynch works as both memoir and biography. Lynch's personal reflections are offset by telescoped biographical sections from critic/journalist McKenna, who's been interviewing him since 1977 and also spoke with Lynch's family, friends, and colleagues. Lynch's last book, Catching the Big Fish, has sold 100,000 copies.

    Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 9, 2018
    The avant-garde director of The Elephant Man and Blue Velvet and cocreator of Twin Peaks remembers a life as surreal as his movies in this exuberant biography/memoir. In chapters that alternate between Lynch’s first-person narrative and biographical accounts written by McKenna (Talk to Her), the book presents an illuminating look into Lynch’s life, drawing heavily on McKenna’s interviews with actors, ex-wives, and friends that paint an admiring portrait of a charismatic man given to intuitive improvisations, like sticking the script supervisor into a blue-wigged speaking role in Mulholland Drive. Interspersed chapters contain Lynch’s own memories that explore his creative process from its roots in strange visual imagery to his long-shot quests for financing (“ ‘It’s about a man who’s three and a half feet tall, with a red pompadour, who runs on sixty-cycle alternating-current electricity’” went one unsuccessful pitch). Lynch is a great raconteur, and at the book’s heart are his anecdotes, featuring colorful grotesques like the hunch-backed con-man who borrowed his phone to make fraudulent fund-raising calls, and dark intrusions of sexuality into wholesome landscapes (as a boy in idyllic Boise, Idaho, he recalls, he once saw a naked, bleeding woman silently wandering the night-time streets). The result is an entertainingly offbeat show-biz saga and a fine evocation of Lynch’s unique voice and sensibility. Photos.

  • Kirkus

    April 15, 2018
    It takes a tag-team effort to tell this ambitious life of the enigmatic filmmaker and artist.Lynch (Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity, 2006) has always been an outsider when it comes to his films, art, and photography, so it comes as no surprise that this dual biography/autobiography is "strange," as the authors describe it. Journalist and friend McKenna (The Ferus Gallery: A Place to Begin, 2009, etc.) pens an insightful, well-researched, conventional biography in chapters drawing mostly on interviews. Lynch's chapters follow hers, responding like "a person having a conversation with his own biography." Inevitably, there is repetition, and it's not uncommon for McKenna to tell a story one way and Lynch to tell it differently. Lynch comes across as an amiable, chatty fellow who wears his brilliance lightly. He writes lovingly of his "dreamy," itinerant, middle-class childhood where the roots for his films were first planted. He enthusiastically describes how he felt after receiving an American Film Institute grant that would allow him to make his first feature film, Eraserhead. McKenna writes that "John Waters encouraged his fans" to see it, and Stanley Kubrick "loved" it. It also got Mel Brooks' attention, and he asked Lynch to direct The Elephant Man for his production company. Lynch describes making the film as a "baptism of fire." It was "a beautiful story and a beautiful experience and it's timeless." Next came Dune, which "brought him to his knees," McKenna writes--but it also "helped clarify precisely who he is as a filmmaker." It was a "good thing," Lynch responds, "to have a humiliating major failure." In the end, Lynch sums it all up: "It's impossible to really tell the story of somebody's life, and the most we can hope to convey here is a very abstract 'Rosebud.' "Although an awkward read, the book abounds in great stories and terrific movie trivia that will sate Lynch fans for years to come.

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 30, 2018
    Filmmaker Lynch and coauthor McKenna both contribute their voices to this wonderfully entertaining audiobook about Lynch’s life and his creative influences. The chapters alternate between first-person accounts from Lynch and more traditional biographical accounts written and read by McKenna. McKenna’s reading style is clear and unembellished. She reads her portion of the book, which paints Lynch as a visionary artist whose creative genius is guided by a mix of intuition and impulsiveness, in a detached journalistic manner. Lynch hems and haws, often riffing on topics discussed in McKenna’s chapters. His sections of the book are unpredictable yet strangely alluring as he moves breathlessly from one topic to the next. An anecdote about a meeting with comedian George Burns, for example, suddenly transforms into a discussion of the revival of Lynch’s hit show Twin Peaks. In another section, he muses on the talents of actor Richard Farnsworth and then veers off into the adverse effects of genetically modified corn. While Lynch’s sections no doubt steal the show, his entertaining style works in part because McKenna’s sections give the book direction. A Random House hardcover.

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