Editorial Reviews. terney.info Review. Voodoo. Decadent socialites packing Lugars. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil - Kindle edition by John Berendt. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Shots rang out in Savannah's grandest mansion in the misty,early morning hours of May 2, Was it murder or self-defense? For nearly a decade, the. Views KB Size Report. This content was uploaded by our users and we assume good faith they have the permission to share this book.
|Language:||English, Spanish, French|
|Distribution:||Free* [*Registration Required]|
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a sublime and seductive reading experience. Brilliantly conceived and masterfully written, this. MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN. OF GOOD AND EVIL. John Berendt has been the editor of. New York magazine and an Esquire columnist. He lives in New York. Shots rang out in Savannah's grandest mansion in the misty,early morning hours of May 2, Was it murder or self-defense? For.
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: 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. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: He earned a B. This book is more or less This was a decent book. This book is more or less one long magazine article, detailng the events, and lives, but never really giving you sympathy for any of the characters.
It does a fine job of keeping the mystery of whether Jim Williams really did the deed a secret, but in comparison to In Cold Blood by Truman Capote which I'm reading currently this is not worth the effort.
View all 9 comments. Oct 11, Lena rated it it was amazing Shelves: There was a lot of hype around this book a few years back, but in this case I think it is actually deserved. And, oh, what material! The true-crime mystery at the center of the book—whether the social-climbing, closeted gay antiques dealer shot his lover in cold blood or self-defense—is interesting enough, but Berendt decorates that story with outrageous character portraits There was a lot of hype around this book a few years back, but in this case I think it is actually deserved.
Be wary of the movie version of Midnight, though. Good actors, bad adaptation. If you like the book, however, you may want to watch it just to see the notorious drag queen play herself. Sometimes, truth really is better than fiction. View all 5 comments. Mar 22, Jonathan Ashleigh rated it really liked it Shelves: The writing was great, the story was led into in an interesting way, but the trial was trivial and so were many characters that were introduced in the first half of the book.
That said, I feel like I should have more good things to say about a book I enjoyed reading so much. View 2 comments. One advantage of bringing fresh eyes to an old town like Savannah, Georgia, is that the newcomer can cross social, racial, religious and economic lines with relative ease, and reporter John Berendt made the most of it in this bestseller. Midnight is a penetrating look at Coastal South culture that is zestily written and a hell of a lot of fun to read.
While I enjoyed the ensuing movie very much, I like the book even more because it can take more time doing its job -- basically following a very b One advantage of bringing fresh eyes to an old town like Savannah, Georgia, is that the newcomer can cross social, racial, religious and economic lines with relative ease, and reporter John Berendt made the most of it in this bestseller.
While I enjoyed the ensuing movie very much, I like the book even more because it can take more time doing its job -- basically following a very bemused New York reporter Berendt around in search of answers to a controversial murder, as he crosses paths with Uga the "Damn Good Dog," meets Luther the "fly man," gets special permission to visit the Married Women's Card Club, learns about the hustler who was "the good time not yet had by all," dabbles in hoodoo, and of course makes the acquaintance of Lady Chablis, who had to tape her "Thing" down before she appeared in public.
And for all the eccentricity, you'll actually learn a lot about Savannah! Used copies are plentiful, too, even in hardcover. View all 16 comments. Jul 11, Amanda rated it really liked it Recommended to Amanda by: Chris Brewer. Murder, gullah, drag queens these are a few of my favorite things.
There's probably not much I can say about this book that hasn't already been said, but that won't stop me. I saw the movie when it first came out and loved it, but just never got around to reading the book. I thought that the entire book would be about the murder trial of Jim Williams, the prominent Savannah antiques dealer accused of murdering Danny Hansford with whom it was rumored he was having a sexual relationship.
While a generous portion of the book is dedicated to the details of Williams's four trials, the book is much more than that. This is a collection of stories about the people and history of Savannah--some of it true, some of it embellished, and some of it flat-out fabricated. The characters are eccentric, but likable particularly The Lady Chablis--the foul mouthed drag queen who has labeled herself "The Grand Empress of Savannah;" she's by far my favorite character, followed by Minerva, the fascinating practitioner of voodoo.
And, while I knew he was probably a scoundrel, I also liked Jim Williams, who insisted on continuing to live in Savannah because "it pisses off all the right people. Here's my verdict: It should also be said that the cover art for the book is perfect. The bird girl of Bonaventure Cemetery stands there like Savannah itself, prim and old-fashioned, holding out both good and evil--head cocked in curiosity to see from which bowl her citizens will take. Cross posted at This Insignificant Cinder View all 8 comments.
Feb 26, Phrynne rated it it was ok. I found this one a struggle. Several times I stopped and looked the title up again on Goodreads to make sure it really is non fiction. Surely all those weird characters could not really have existed in one place. Surely there must have been a huge amount of artistic licence going on.
The court cases themselves rang true but ended up not being a major part of the book. Two stars because the author writes well. My struggle to read it was based purely on disbelief and not at all on the quality of t I found this one a struggle. My struggle to read it was based purely on disbelief and not at all on the quality of the book. Apr 03, Montzalee Wittmann rated it it was ok Shelves: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: A Savannah Story by John Berendt is a weird story about even weirder people!
I would be gone from that town soooo fast. What creepy people! With the strange people you knew the murder mystery would be just as creepy, but not good. Easy to figure out that Jim and Danny were lovers right away. Why hide it in this town? You have a man that only puts make up on one eye, a man who walks an invisible dog, a man that hordes enough poison so he can at sometime k Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: You have a man that only puts make up on one eye, a man who walks an invisible dog, a man that hordes enough poison so he can at sometime kill everyone, and a transvestite dating a man.
These are the sane people! I wasn't impressed with the writing, the plot, or the mystery.
His weird characters were weird but that was it. Not my kind of book. Jul 26, Maxwell rated it really liked it Shelves: The perfect mix of character study and courtroom drama, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil paints a fascinating picture of Savannah, Georgia. It's a moody, atmospheric novel that draws you in with its exquisite descriptions and eccentric cast.
There are aristocratic snobs and drag queens, punk rock teens and possibly murderous millionaires.
It all sounds a bit too good to be true--based on a series of real events from the 's-- and maybe it is. But nonetheless, it's wildly entertaining a The perfect mix of character study and courtroom drama, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil paints a fascinating picture of Savannah, Georgia. But nonetheless, it's wildly entertaining and compulsively readable. I'd recommend the audiobook because there are a few slow moments that I might not have been motivated to read had I been reading it in physical form.
Fans of the podcast Serial might enjoy this one for it's court aspect, with the added bonus of some zany and memorable characters. Mar 21, Jacob Overmark rated it it was amazing Shelves: We are going South, Deep South … and here we like to keep them things as they always were, when our fathers fathers fathers build Savannah.
After all this are the ties and we may have heard of the outside world, but were not gonna go there! Yearh, there may be an alarmingly high murder rate, but its nothing to do with us decent people, we have our country clubs, our yacht clubs and our good ol money in the bank. So, getting into the social life of Savannah is no easy job. Either you are ol mon We are going South, Deep South … and here we like to keep them things as they always were, when our fathers fathers fathers build Savannah.
But, hard work and skills and not least a rare talent for the antiquity business gets Jim Williams there. Everything passing through the hands of Jim Williams seems to turn into a success. That is until … seemingly, a murder takes place in Mercer House and there is only one obvious suspect, Jim Williams.
Friends and foes alike are now witnessing the months up to the trial which will determine if Jim Williams is a cold-blooded murderer or an innocent man, only guilty of defending his life, and even the social interest dwindle some in Savannah, the readers are following the next 8 years with trial and retrials. Certainly, but John Berendt pays them a little less attention as there are so many colorful characters eager to play a role in the story.
We will meet Lady Chablis, the drag queen, Minerva, the voodoo mistress, William Glover who walks the non-existent dog which entitles him to an allowance. There is the former lawyer, fallen on hard times and the in-high-demand black lady who cooks heavenly.
Not to mention the guy with the most poisonous substance outside Russia who occasionally dreams of poisoning the whole town — btw his sometimes lady friend was a glamorous ad model in Life in the ties and ties, not so glamorous anymore.
Now you think this is made up, it cannot possibly be true that so many out-of-the-ordinary characters are all in one place. Apart from changing sequences a bit here and there, the book describes the actual events and John Berendt does this with great skill.
Instead, John Berendt is providing us with so much background material that the local tourist board ought to thank him.
A solid 5 star experience, in a genre I really did not expect to find so riveting. Bonus info: The title alludes to the hoodoo notion of "midnight," the period between the time for good magic 11 pm to midnight and the time for evil magic midnight to 1 am , and "the garden of good and evil," which refers principally to the cemetery in Beaufort, South Carolina, where Dr.
Buzzard, the husband of Minerva, the folk-magic practitioner who figures in the story, is buried. It is over his grave that Minerva performed the incantations to ensure a more successful result in the retrial for the case of Jim Williams. The city looked inward, sealed of from the noises and distractions of the world at large.
It grew inward, too, and in such a way that its people flourished like hothouse plants tended by an indulgent gardner. The ordinary became extraordinary. Eccentrics thrived. Every nuanc 3. Every nuance and quirk of personality achieved greater brilliance in that lush enclosure than would have been possible anywhere else in the world. This is probably one of the best nonfiction tales I've read in quite awhile. In fact, many times I felt like I was reading a novel.
Berendt's writing style is comfortable, approachable, and conversational; everything I want in a narrative nonfiction book. Each idiosyncratic and vivid identity depicted within these pages seems like something out of a novel, so I loved loved loved that they all are, in fact, real, living, breathing human beings who lived in Savannah when this book was written.
From an eccentric gay antique dealer who may or may not have murdered his young, redneck, playboy lover in cold blood to a beautiful trash-talking drag queen my personal favorite of the bunch to a mysterious and slightly loony voodoo priestess to a penniless womanizing philanderer, these characters were all extremely memorable and were my favorite part of this book.
The setting of Savannah, a character in itself, was perfect and made me want to plan a trip there soon. Where this book lost me a bit was the long and detailed murder trial of Jim Williams.
It was oddly thrown in halfway through, and while I enjoyed knowing what would happen, it was written as the principal story among all the other stories, and the one I found the least interesting. So I was a little disappointed that it took up the most real-estate. I needed more of Chablis and her fierce attitude, Joe Odom and his pretty but naive fiancee, Mandy, and Minerva's voodoo. I would have taken more pages of their stories. The real bits, the pieces of factual information I gained about Savannah's culture and history were an added bonus to the story, but the magic of this is in the characters.
Read this book for them. They are better than most fictionalized people you will ever meet. View all 15 comments.
Aug 24, Jake rated it liked it Shelves: As you might expect, these are of a distinctly Gothic nature. Imagine a travel guide written by Tennessee Williams.
We are invited to marvel at some familiar grotesques: All of this is presented with a light touch, even as the parad "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" is ostensibly about the macabre truths that lie behind Savannah's gentile facade.
All of this is presented with a light touch, even as the parade of anecdotes transitions to an expose of a celebrated murder case. It makes for a fun read, and it's easy to see why this book reinvented the Savannah tourist scene and stayed on the best seller list for five straight years.
But as with Capote's "In Cold Blood", it's interesting to explore exactly where this memoir diverges from the truth- what lies hidden behind the narrator's engaging facade? Berendt comes across as a good-natured everyman, a writer newly settled in town, just taking a look around.
Of course, he was a good deal more than that: This background explains his easy entree into the life of Jim Williams, the anti-hero of the book. Rich, handsome, secretive, and gay- a man not too dissimilar from the narrator: He was tall, about fifty, with darkly handsome, almost sinister features: We were sitting in the living room of his Victorian house. It was a mansion, really, with fifteen-foot ceilings and large, well-proportioned rooms. A graceful spiral stairway rose from the center hall toward a domed skylight.
There was a ballroom on the second floor. It was Mercer House, one of the last of Savannah's great houses still in private hands. Together with the walled garden and the carriage house in back, it occupied an entire city block.
If Mercer House was not quite the biggest private house in Savannah, it was certainly the most grandly furnished.
Much has been written about Berendt's many elisions and emendations of the strict truth: This is all worth thinking about, but I'm more interested in a different class of distortions: First, there is the previously mentioned delight in the grotesque. This is a tendency of all northern authors to reduce people in the South to types.
Berendt does some of this, and while the reduction makes for good story-telling, you can't help but wonder what kind of truth it leaves out of the picture. Not very "true crimey" as it reads like a novel and it is not really centered on the crime. It's more of a character study on eccentricity and southern hypocrisy. One of those, too strange to be believed tales. Soap operas ain't got nothing on the city of Savannah!
Like booklady Aug 17, A southern story full of twists and turns and colorful characters. Through it all, the author, John Berendt is never fully exposed to the inner workings of the city due to its insular nature.