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Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by…

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

by John Berendt

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9,030174332 (3.84)297
Title:Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
Authors:John Berendt
Info:Vintage (1999), Edition: Later Printing, Paperback, 416 pages
Collections:Your library

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

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20th century (55) American (74) American literature (51) American South (90) crime (224) fiction (653) Georgia (241) hardcover (48) history (166) literature (52) made into movie (37) memoir (86) murder (234) mystery (315) non-fiction (794) novel (93) own (58) read (134) Savannah (405) Savannah Georgia (48) signed (47) South (74) southern (103) the south (40) to-read (124) travel (80) true crime (408) unread (73) USA (59) voodoo (52)

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English (172)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (174)
Showing 1-5 of 172 (next | show all)
Can reality have a good story?
  lseitz | Jul 1, 2014 |
This is an excellent read. Years ago, I saw the movie but was unaware that it was based on a true story. The book is "novelized" fiction a la Truman Capote. It tells the story of Savannah antique dealer Jim Williams, the questionable death of his "house boy," and his subsequent trials. ( )
  Amusedbythis | May 22, 2014 |
I could not finish this book and I was listening to it on a CD. Just did not catch me.
  waeschle | Apr 24, 2014 |
Reads like fiction but is actually the story of a real murder case that took place in Savannah, Georgia in the 1980's through to 1991. First, Berendt introduces us to a wide range of characters many of whom are eccentric but all live in or near Savannah. Many will have a part to play in the murder case or in the life of Jim Williams, the accused murderer.

Jim Williams was a wealthy antique dealer who had a young male lover. One evening, after a violent argument, Williams shot the lover and went to trial for murder four times. First three convictions were thrown out because of misdeeds by the prosecution. The last trial which had been moved from Savannah to Augusta found him not guilty.

This book reminds me of Gothic fiction for its darkness and the many characters who have secrets they do not wish exposed. Then there is the closed society of Savannah that is holding on to many of the traditions and attitudes of the old South. ( )
  lamour | Feb 11, 2014 |
John Berendt embedded himself in Savannah society over a period of 8 years. In that time, he met quite a few strange characters, two of which were fortuitously (for Berendt) involved in a sensational murder. The book is described as nonfiction, but one gets the feeling that Berendt exercised quite a bit of dramatic license given the amount of insight into the character's motivation that he describes. Berendt's writing style is lucid and flowing, so the book is a quick and enjoyable read. The surprising aspect of the book to me was the degree to which the events revolved around homosexuality. Given that the action took place in the South in the 1980s, Savannah must be a place with a good degree of tolerance for alternative lifestyles (the book includes quite a tutorial on the details of male cross-dressing, for example). Highly recommended. ( )
  ninefivepeak | Jan 4, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 172 (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

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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.

(summary from another edition)

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