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Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by…

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1994)

by John Berendt

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 181 (next | show all)
Good and evocative of Southern life...particularly that life which, like the Victorians, has a dark under belly. ( )
  Kelley.Logan | Jan 16, 2015 |
As I was planning a Christmas trip to Savannah, a good friend and reader suggested I read the book (instead of seeing the movie). I really liked the beginning, the characters were so quirky and Mr. Berendt gives just enough history and background to keep things interesting. I wish that was the entire book. Unfortunately, as soon as he got to the murder, I got bored - there was too much detail and I struggled to follow what was happening. Ultimately I agree with my friend, if you are going to Savannah, this is a must read book. ( )
  sunnydrk | Jan 8, 2015 |
A "non-fiction novel" (that term makes me itch) about a murder in Savannah, Georgia, in the early eighties. Focuses largely on the personalities the author met over the course of ~eight years living part time in Savannah and uses the circumstances surrounding a high-profile Savannah murder trial as a frame on which to hang this portrait of the people and the place. At turns fascinating and tedious, the book is most interesting when it gets plotty and focuses more heavily on the trials (there were a series of appeals and mistrials) than on the vignettes of the Savannahians. While some of the people Berendt portrays are intriguing, others didn't hold my interest (I'm sure that which bits were interesting would vary from reader to reader). I also couldn't quite dispel the unpleasant sensation that the book works as a window for non-Southerners to gawp at those peculiar Savannahians and their oddball, "old-South"y ways. It has been yonks since I saw the movie that was based on this book, but I don't remember feeling that way about it at all. I'm curious now to watch it again and see if it makes me feel the same way. Perhaps I am just too influenced by current racial and cultural divisions and upheaval to enjoy the book in the way it was intended. ( )
  lycomayflower | Nov 30, 2014 |
What an interesting microcosm Savannah is! I spent the afternoon considering the kinds of "characters" someone writing a similar book about my own city (Seattle) might be able to round up, and what conclusions they would be able to draw about the local culture. Whether the insights were valid or not it was a really compelling read, very novel-like in the way it was laid out. I don't think the author could have scripted it better himself if he'd tried.

Reading it I definitely felt transported to a different place/time - the societal mores being described felt so dated and strange at times that when pieces of technology like the Atari were mentioned it was very jarring! ( )
  okrysmastree | Oct 2, 2014 |
The fluid prose and lucious descriptions had me forgetting that I was reading non-fiction. ( )
  pussreboots | Oct 1, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 181 (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.
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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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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