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Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (original 1994; edition 1999)

by John Berendt

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9,411193312 (3.84)325
Member:abwahl1998
Title:Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
Authors:John Berendt
Info:Vintage (1999), Edition: Later Printing, Paperback, 416 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:None

Work details

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

Recently added bylucyknows, weharlow, sturlington, supercoldd, jandersoncgl, JeanieG, elvisettey, private library, TheNetwork, TracyRae
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» See also 325 mentions

English (191)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (193)
Showing 1-5 of 191 (next | show all)
I ended up putting off a weekend's worth of work because the book captivated me instantly! Now that I've finished the book, guilt is slowly overtaking me.....but oh well.

I enjoyed the picturesque descriptions of Savannah--certainly not as irritating as I imagined the South to be. I laughed out loud at the characterization--what an imagination the author must have to create Joe and the man with the pet flies! I was halfway through the novel before I saw the word "nonfiction" on the cover and immediately went to the last pages of the book for an explanation--these people really exist? This is for real? Needless to say I became even more interested, entertained, and fascinated by how other people live. In contrast to the previous reader, I anxiously followed the murder trial story and cared what happened to Jim.

A perfect novel for a lazy spring day of reading on the porch.

( )
  engpunk77 | Aug 14, 2015 |
This book feels more like fiction than non-fiction when you're reading it, although the stories are true. All the of characters are interesting and usually funny. It gives a good idea of what Savannah was like in the 1980s. ( )
  SebastianHagelstein | Jul 20, 2015 |
Although I knew about this novel prior to our recent trip to Savannah, I had never thought to read it until I learned how it is THE book that people read about Savannah. In fact, it is in all the tourist literature and all the tour guides talk about it. Not one to be left out of anything literary, I quickly obtained a signed copy from one of the many bookstores in the Historic district in Savannah, and set about reading it prior to the end of my vacation.

The story begins early in the 1980's, when a New York journalist visits Savannah for the first time and becomes immersed in the unusual and charming culture of the historic city. The "nonfiction story" centers around a real life murder committed by James Williams, a very wealthy antiques dealer living in the famed Mercer House. The author describes the culture and people of Savannah in rich detail, including the snobbery and quirkiness of the affluent upper class. A full range of characters is included, such as a voodoo witch, employed by Williams to use the spirits to influence his trials, a transgendered female impersonator, a charming con artist, a traveling pianist, and many others. Unlike the movie (which I also purchased and watched) the book is very detailed, well written, and not surprisingly, much better than the movie. In all,this is a very interesting and real story about Savannah, which truly added to my visit and understanding of the city. A must read for anyone who plans a trip to Savannah. ( )
  voracious | Jul 19, 2015 |
Racy, weird, hilarious. ( )
  ted_newell | Jun 20, 2015 |
Nonfiction that reads like a novel. ( )
  Cleoxcat | May 28, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 191 (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 (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Berendtprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Carson, Carol DevineCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heald, AnthonyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woodman, JeffNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my parents
First words
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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This is the book, not the film.
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:44 -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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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