THE GUILD OF SAINT COOPER by Shya Scanlon

THE GUILD OF SAINT COOPER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In a near-future Seattle undergoing a slow apocalypse, a writer is convinced to undertake a heroic mission to save the city by rewriting its history.

For some time now, poet and essayist Scanlon (Border Run, 2013, etc.) has been curating The Twin Peaks Project, which invites writers to portray their experiences with the early-1990s television show through personal essays, criticism, poetry, etc., which are then published on a variety of websites. Here, he combines a portrayal of a post-apocalyptic American Northwest similar to that in his novel Forecast (2012) with aspects of the television show in a long, rambling thriller that seems more interested in its own metafictional nature than in telling a proper story. The book’s narrator is Blake Williams, the author of a bestselling book (also called Forecast) who's moved back to Seattle to care for his dying mother. His wife, confusingly also named Blake, has long since left him, and neighbors are moving out of the city to escape some dire circumstances that are hinted at but not explained. Eventually, Blake is recruited by an underground group, The Guild of St. Cooper, which wants him to change the city’s fate by writing a version of its history in which Dale Cooper, the fictional FBI agent in Twin Peaks, saves the day. There is a conspiracy Blake must unravel, but it’s obscenely complicated and unbelievable. If you dig this exchange between Cooper and Blake, this is the story for you: “It was you who discovered what Weyerhaeuser was up to with our extraterrestrial visitors, and you whose first experience with transpositional epiphany led us to the discovery of Existencelastic Macrobial Foreshortening,” says Cooper. Everyone else merely needs to know that it’s pretty weird and includes aliens and mind control and Dale Cooper–isms and flashbacks and ruminations on the nature of writing.

An inventive but baffling literary experiment that makes just as much sense as the end of Twin Peaks.

Pub Date: May 12th, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-936873-61-6
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Dzanc
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2015




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