Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil
- Hodder & Stoughton General Division
- Publication Date:
- 03 September 2009
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There was a lot of hype around this book a few years back, but in this case I think it is actually deserved. For one, Berendt is a skilled writer who understands how to tease a compelling story out of the material he’s working with. 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 of Savannah’s very oddball residents. Whether he’s discussing the quirky, old-South rituals of the Married Women’s Card Club or the disturbed local genius who may or may not be plotting to poison the town’s water supply, Berendt kept me so engaged I relished every moment. 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.
I am sorry I never did get to see New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina hit it. More than any other American city, New Orleans seems to have a mythical life of its own, thanks to books like this, and Anne Rice's novels.
What a great story!! I was immediately engrossed in the colorful characters (such as a performing cross dresser Lady Chablis, a man that walks an imaginary dog and a voodoo priestess) and scandals of Savannah Georgia. I would have given Midnight in the Garden of Good or Evil a hands down 5 stars except for the second half of the story with became too wrapped up in the trial of socialite Jim Williams and didn’t focus as much on its eccentric inhabitants. Once again I have no idea why this book has lingered so long on my shelf. This year I have unearthed some hidden gems.
I was inspired to read this again by a trip into Bonaventure Cemetery a few weeks ago. It really is a good novel. If it weren't true, it would be unbelievable, if that makes sense. Truth truly is stranger than fiction!
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