Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
Shots rang out in Savannah's grandest mansion in the misty,early morning hours of May 2, 1981. Was it murder or self-defense? For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this hauntingly beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares. John Berendt's... show more
Shots rang out in Savannah's grandest mansion in the misty,early morning hours of May 2, 1981. Was it murder or self-defense?
For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this hauntingly beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares. John Berendt's sharply observed, suspenseful, and witty narrative reads like a thoroughly engrossing novel, and yet it is a work of nonfiction. Berendt skillfully interweaves a hugely entertaining first-person account of life in this isolated remnant of the Old South with the unpredictable twists and turns of a landmark murder case.
It is a spellbinding story peopled by a gallery of remarkable characters: the well-bred society ladies of the Married Woman's Card Club; the turbulent young redneck gigolo; the hapless recluse who owns a bottle of poison so powerful it could kill every man, woman, and child in Savannah; the aging and profane Southern belle who is the "soul of pampered self-absorption"; the uproariously funny black drag queen; the acerbic and arrogant antiques dealer; the sweet-talking, piano-playing con artist; young blacks dancing the minuet at the black debutante ball; and Minerva, the voodoo priestess who works her magic in the graveyard at midnight.
These and other Savannahians act as a Greek chorus, with Berendt revealing the alliances, hostilities, and intrigues that thrive in a town where everyone knows everyone else. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a sublime and seductive reading experience. Brilliantly conceived and masterfully written, this enormously engaging portrait of a most beguiling Southern city has become a modern classic.
Publish date: 1999-06-28
Publisher: Vintage Books
Pages no: 386
Edition language: English
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is advertised as a true crime classic and while a big part of the book is about the Jim Williams murder trial, I didn´t get the impression that the main focus of this book lies on the murder trial or the actual mystery surrounding the murder. This book is mo...
When I was around two thirds in, I started idly concocting a review in my brain, about how the almost surreal elements and characters was what gave this narrative such a verisimilitude. Cue me over the 80% mark, just going to search for a detail, and finding out this is nonfiction. Sure, there are a...
Nonfiction books, even those covering a specific event in a specific setting, tend to be a little dull in their dry factualness. Nonfiction true crime has a tendency toward moralizing. Berendt’s story of a young man killed by his lover/employer in an isolated Georgia town avoids both. He carries the...
One of the best "true crime" book I have ever read. Every inch of the story is fascinating. It reads like a novel. I had to keep reminding myself that it was, in fact, a true crime book. From the very first chapter I felt drawn in. I immediately wanted to go to Savannah and see it for myself. So oft...
As much as I loved this book - and I did - I am relieved to finally be finished with it. I loved every word of it, but I swear it was magically adding pages at the back as I was reading it. Having seen the movie years ago, I was surprised at how much of this book had little or nothing to do with ...