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
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 ...
Full disclosure I'd heard about this book, but knew nothing about the actual trial, or the the movie. I maybe have passed through Savannah once or twice. I'm not really sure, but definitely never spent any time there. So I genuinely didn't know the out come of the trial till I finished the book. My ...