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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Much better than the movie -- a fascinating look at Savannah life
This book is credited by many as the reason for the tremendous increase in tourism interest in Savannah in recent years. The book was on the New York Times bestseller list for 216 consecutive weeks. There is a reason. It is a great book!
Don't think that if you have seen the movie, you know what the book is about. Yes, the movie was based on the book, but very loosely. The book gives a fascinating, in depth look at several unique personalities, as well as the city itself. If you haven't been to Savannah, reading this book will make you want to go. Best of all, it is based on real characters and real events -- it is not a novel.
Such a great book
This was the second time I read it (first time as audiobook) and it always surprises me how much I enjoy it. It just so darn good! Every character in this book plays such an important part in making the story so successful. I just love it!
Pointless and droning
I made it through seven hours of this book before I had to delete it. I usually like to finish books but I invested way too much in this dribble already. The characters are flat and boring while the plot goes nowhere. Books like this make me think twice before purchasing any new audiobooks. I’ll never get that $20 or 7 hours back.