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David Lynch Decoded Paperback – 30 Dec 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 140 pages
  • Publisher: AuthorHouse (30 Dec. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1434349853
  • ISBN-13: 978-1434349859
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 0.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 522,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Mark Allyn Stewart has a degree in film from Webster University in St. Louis but what he really always wanted to do is write. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Hand of God series, which began with his first novel, Against This Vast Army. He is also the author of the short story collection, Stories Told By Flashlight. For more information you can visit Mark on the world wide web at: or e-mail him at

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By secret santa on 10 July 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Book was thinner than I expected for the price, but has plenty of thought provoking content which is well set out.
Bought as a fathers day present for my husband who read it the same day. He's a David Lynch fan, and has a few theories of his own. I was pleased at his responses as he read new ideas and themes he'd not thought of himself. The author has provided an email address for correspondence - I suspect he'll be getting some soon, if he hasn't already.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kuma on 26 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For such a significant modern director David Lynch there are very few books published on his films and having had this sit in my wants list for two years and with a small price reduction corresponding with completing watching Twin Peaks again I risked my [...] on this tome, which is probably closer to a pamphlet. Its a small 117 page book and the pages are quite small in terms of content - I read it in two lunch breaks and I don't get a full hour to give you some idea of how much is here. From a content point of view it seems a little overpriced.

However the contents of the book are what are important and Stewart's book reads like a reasonably good though a little fannish school essay. He has a short chapter on each film plus the Twin Peaks series, though he does seem unaware of some other important works such as The Grandmother, On The Air and Industrial Symphony No. 1 for example. For each one he points out how the key motifs which feature in Lynch's work appear in that particular work - at first interesting but as you get deeper into the book you pretty much know what is going to come next. There isn't a great deal of information outside what appears in each film and if you have given his works a more than cursory glance (which someone thinking of buying this is quite likely to have done) then this book isn't going to offer you a great deal.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Zaploosh on 23 Sept. 2009
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It's a short, expensive but fascinating book.
I've read several studies on Lynch in which writers have tried to get inside the mind of America's greatest living 'Art' director. This work stands out in that it seems to most accurately crack the secret codes and themes that worm their way through Lynch's movies. Fire, electricity, wind, barking dogs, the colour blue, duality, heaven and hell...all are identified and explained in a simple way. Are the explanations right or wrong? Only David Lynch knows the answer...but you do feel this writer has got pretty damn close.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D. R. Hartley on 12 April 2011
Format: Paperback
As already mentioned in other reviews, this is a rather short book and you'll get through it pretty quickly - for me, a couple of days in two sittings.

There are a few things of interest here. The author concentrates on running themes such as electricity, the colour blue and the symbolic meaning behind barking dogs. Though I found some of this quite fascinating, especially the presence of evil travelling through electricity theme which explained a few more baffling moments in Inland Empire, a lot of it I considered quite tenuous.

As a Lynch fan I don't really want to be offered answers on a plate as that's part of the fun, but to read up on the theories and interpretations of others to supplement my own or even contradict them enhances my enjoyment of the films.

Unfortunately this book doesn't really offer any dissection of plot, theory on the overall story for each film or an attempt to interpret them into a more linear (or conventional) structure, which I thought I was going to get.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Cracking the David Lynch Code 7 Jan. 2009
By Boy - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
According to this fascinating book, spotlights in David Lynch's films represent peepholes into mysterious worlds that are usually outside of ordinary perception. In a similar way, this books casts a revealing spotlight onto the mysterious and seemingly impenetrable worlds of David Lynch's stories.

Make no mistake: Stewart's analysis is laudably consistent, coherent, perceptive, and compelling. For instance, the theory about dogs-as-harbingers-of-danger is solidly supported by evidence yielded from ERASERHEAD, THE ELEPHANT MAN, DUNE, BLUE VELVET, WILD AT HEART, FIRE WALK WITH ME, and LOST HIGHWAY. In short, every single Lynch film with dogs fits like a dream into Stewart's interpretation.

And this is true of nearly all of his many astute and surprising interpretations - they hold true with impressive consistency.

This isn't to say I agree with everything he says. For instance, I disagree with his general interpretation of LOST HIGHWAY's basic story, dogs barking aside. I also feel that his chapter on the megalithic INLAND EMPIRE is inevitably a bit too flimsy to do the film proper justice. But these are trifles, especially when you consider that Allyn openly acknowledges that to a certain degree we all see a little something different in Lynch's absurdist visions.

And yet his inspired little book is the single best effort this confirmed Lynchophile has ever read when it comes to presenting a clear-headed, even-handed, and, rarest of all, unpretentious unified analysis of the symbolism and themes within Lynch's work. Allyn makes his cases, and he backs them up with loads of direct and fascinating evidence.

Many filmgoers are inexplicably invested in the idea that Lynch's films are essentially weirdness-for-weirdness's-sake, and that any attempts to understand them are exercises in futility and subjectivity. The truth, however, is just the opposite: Lynch is one of the most meticulous and obssessive storytellers in cinema history, and his films are elaborate and bizarre mysteries that can be solved.

The essential trick for understanding Lynch's films is learning to decode his many visual/non-verbal clues, and this is the very point that Allyn elaborates upon in DAVID LYNCH DECODED.

Read the book, watch the films again, and you will almost certainly come to understand Lynch's movies, or at least aspects of Lynch's movies, with a clarity you probably never thought possible. And if nothing else, you're sure to get a fresh new perspective on this great American film-maker's mysterious body of work.

5 stars.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Questions in a world of blue.... 15 July 2008
By N. Chodoba - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First off, I want to say I am a HUGE fan of David Lynch's films, and one of the many reasons I picked up this book.. What Mr. Stewart does here is take the full canon of Lynch films (from ERASERHEAD all the way through INLAND EMPIRE) and look for similarities and consistent thematic elements that tie into an entire director's work. I would imagine Mr. Lynch wouldn't disapprove of these interpretations (he probably wouldn't say anything!!), and even Mr. Stewart himself says at one point that we can all find our own interprations.. I appreciated the attention he gives to the TWIN PEAKS series, as well as the film TWIN PEAKS:FIRE WALK WITH ME, because I believe Lynch cared a great deal about the world he was creating there, and the imagery, and otherworldly characters started becoming commonplace in his films and almost expected after that (and no, I'm not forgetting ERASERHEAD!). This book is an interesting read for the Lynch fan looking for some answers to all those questions...
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Making Lynch Understandable 2 Feb. 2008
By - Published on
Format: Paperback
As a reader of Stewart's fiction books, I thought that his considerable writing talent could be successfully applied to other areas. This analysis of David Lynch's work confirms my belief. Lynch is a complex and somewhat secretive individual and Stewart has managed to make his work more understandable for us. Readers will appreciate the many insights Stewart has given us into what he calls Lynch's "puzzzle pieces".
12 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Oversimplified and Poorly Written 18 Feb. 2008
By M. G. Miller - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is one of the most poorly written analytic books I've ever read. The author oversimplifies like crazy and collapses complicated devices (such as color in Lynch's films, for instance) into absurdly simple conclusions, i.e. Blue=Secrets.

If you want an illuminating and more complex study of Lynch's works, try Todd McGowan's excellent "The Impossible David Lynch," which uses Lacanian psychoanalysis to open up whole new layers of meaning in the films without ever feeling like empty theorization.
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