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Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by…
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Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1994)

by John Berendt

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (176)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (178)
Showing 1-5 of 176 (next | show all)
I loved the book. In fact I have now added Savannah as a place I would like to travel to. Although it is labeled as non-fiction the writer did take some liberty in embellishing some of the characters actions I believe. He makes mention of it in the book. Which I did find a little disappointing. But he didn't take away from the events that happened. ( )
  PaDutchTravel | Aug 30, 2014 |
more like 3.5. Also, I wish I had realized this was nonfiction while I was reading it. ( )
  abbeyhar | Jul 23, 2014 |
more like 3.5. Also, I wish I had realized this was nonfiction while I was reading it. ( )
  abbeyhar | Jul 23, 2014 |
At first, I was not thrilled with this book. That was before I found out it wasn't a novel! The events in this book are true. They may have been recorded out of sequence, but they are true.

Regardless of whether this is a work of fiction or not, it has an incredibly slow start. Nothing of any real importance happens until almost half way through the book. No shocker that it's scandalous, especially considering the whole thing takes place in a small, preserved area of The South. Savannah, Georgia although changed physically, is still very much a southern town of yesteryear. The cast of characters can be summed up in a single word: eccentric.

Chablis is probably one of the most wild characters in the entire cast. She'll have you wavering between annoyed as hell and chuckling to yourself during every appearance. Jim Williams will leave you with similar feelings although for completely different reasons.

I would definitely recommend this book, just as long as you remember it's not a novel. ( )
  cebellol | Jul 22, 2014 |
Reading this book was a long time coming. I finally picked it up because I was going to Savannah and, well, yes, of course, read "The Book."
So I did.

I enjoyed the first half, but felt like the author's journalist background was coming out more than a cohesive story. It was more like a series of mini-biographies on various interesting people in Savannah. Like those long articles where a magazine writer meets with someone of interest over an extended period of time and talks about their interactions (there was a fascinating one with Fiona Appel in the past couple years...). I.e., it was very interesting and definitely put you in the mood of Savannah, but it wasn't exactly a story. There didn't appear to be a fluid tale coming out. It was more like "oh this person! Oh and that thing! oo, and then there was this one time... And oh yeah, she was interesting too!" And it was. Interesting. But not, as I say, a story. So the first half I'd give about 3 1/2 stars.

Except for the Jim Williams stuff which is the beginning, occasionally throughout, and most of the latter half of the book. And I'd give all that 5 stars. Berendt truly brings to life Jim Williams and his house (Mercer House), his experiences, his trade, his peoples, his parties, his personalities... I loved reading all of that. And Berendt did a fantastic job bringing to life the trialS related to Jim Williams.... without being boring or repetitive or, frankly, overly legalistic. It was just interesting and endearing and wonderful.

And what's it about? It's about Savannah. It's about the people in Savannah and the nature of Savannah and what makes Savannah, Savannah. This is apparently why the people in Savannah simply refer to this as "The Book." Because it did its job well. And it's also about a murder trial. And about big personalities. And about a journalist's discovery of a city, its people, and even himself.

And I recommend it. Just to everyone. It's a pleasure reading and a good one to have read.
FOUR AND A HALF stars.

Note: This book is true... mostly. As Berendt explains, not only have many of the names been changed, but the timeframe has also been changed, and perhaps small other details, to provide a story that's truer in "feel" than perhaps in explicit detail. ( )
  avanders | Jul 19, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 176 (next | show all)
Elegant and wicked.... Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil might be the first true-crime book that makes the reader want to book a bed and breakfast for an extended weekend at the scene of the crime.
added by GYKM | editThe New York Times Book Review
 

» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Berendtprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Woodman, JeffNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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He was tall, about fifty, with darkly handsome, almost sinister features: a neatly trimmed mustache, hair turning silver at the temples, and eyes so black they were like the tinted windows of a sleek limousine - he could see out, but you couldn't see in.
Quotations
These, then, were the images in my mental gazetteer of Savannah: rum-drinking pirates, strong-willed women, courtly manners, eccentric behaviour, gentle words, and lovely music. That and the beauty of the name itself: Savannah.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679751521, Paperback)

John Berendt's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil has been heralded as a "lyrical work of nonfiction," and the book's extremely graceful prose depictions of some of Savannah, Georgia's most colorful eccentrics--remarkable characters who could have once prospered in a William Faulkner novel or Eudora Welty short story--were certainly a critical factor in its tremendous success. (One resident into whose orbit Berendt fell, the Lady Chablis, went on to become a minor celebrity in her own right.) But equally important was Berendt's depiction of Savannah socialite Jim Williams as he stands trial for the murder of Danny Hansford, a moody, violence-prone hustler--and sometime companion to Williams--characterized by locals as a "walking streak of sex." So feel free to call it a "true crime classic" without a trace of shame.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:03:45 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

In charming, beautiful, and wealthy old-South Savannah, Georgia, the local bad boy is shot dead inside of the opulent mansion of a gay antiques dealer, and a gripping trial follows.

» see all 7 descriptions

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