Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

by Berendt


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A visiting city reporter's assignment suddenly revolves around the murder trial of a local millionaire, whom he befriends.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780594808442
Publisher: \
Publication date: 05/06/2019
Sales rank: 57,166
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.20(d)

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Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 470 reviews.
slimikin More than 1 year ago
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a splendid piece of nonfiction. Part true crime, part Savannah guidebook, it reaches beyond both of these to become a captivating character study. John Berendt effortlessly captures the voices of both the people he meets and the city of Savannah, itself. And yet, though his impressions and experiences shape the narrative, he remains an understated presence in the book, offering what he sees and hears with minimal commentary, and leaving us, the readers, with the sense that it is we who are in fact meeting these people and this place. As their new acquaintances, moreover, we're free and welcome to come to our own conclusions about the quality of their characters, and so we, too, become drawn into the book's singular series of events. Deftly rendered with elegant and evocative prose, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a funny, insightful, and often touching glimpse into Savannah's charming, mysterious heart.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! The chareacters and plot are very original and catching. I think that way the book is written draws you in and makes you want to keep reading and the way he describes Savannah makes you want to move there or at lease visit. The characters are all colorful and you love them. This is a good book for someone who likes mystery and comedy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In the book every moment seems to lead up to main plot. The book is very organized and easy to read. The characters in the book are very different than normal characters and it is what captures your interest to start with. My favorite character would have to be Chablis, just because of her attitude and personality. In the town of Savannah, it would be very peaceful and I believe that the author portraid the town very well. It's easy to picture in your mind, even if you don't have a creative imagination. The ending was well rounded, but it possibly could have added what every one was doing in the end of the book.
TJ-New-Orleans More than 1 year ago
I became so engrossed with this tale, town, characters and plot and felt as though I was a part of it all. Berendt's rich descriptions of each character and their contrasts and intertwining is brilliant. It's a book you swear you can smell, taste, hear and have to peer out your window once in awhile to make sure you are not living on one of Savannah's beautiful squares.
Midella_Langford More than 1 year ago
I found Midnight in the Garden of God and Evil to be somewhat of a good read. There were parts in the story that were very interesting but mostly it was a treatise of southern life which I already am aware of. This book may be more interesting to people who don't live in small southern cities like Savannah. I am looking forward to seeing how the movie by the same name is compared to the book. If you're looking for a good southern crime drama stick with John Grisham.
NatalieTahoe More than 1 year ago
John Berendt has put together a series of anecdotes of quirky characters in Savannah, Georgia -- and the city basically becomes a character all on its own. As much as I loved "City of Falling Angels," there is a reason that "Midnight" was on the Best Seller list for almost 4 years -- it's amazing, hilarious, touchy, and quirky! I laughed out loud so many times throughout this, reading the anecdotes of characters that the author puts together over a series of 8 years that he lived between New York City and Savannah, Georgia -- the trial of Jim Williams, fascinating and hidden with secrets, is not the crux of the book, as the movie displayed it. The trial is a key part, however it truly is about 40% of the book, with the remainder about the life and the people of Savannah. And as much as I love Clint Eastwood's movies -- the movie did not do John Berendt's book justice at all. Read the book only -- it is absolutely amazing!
lrg More than 1 year ago
This is a great page-turning book - not necessarily stimulating or thought provoking, but very enthralling and well written. The approach is unique, similar to something out of the "true crime" genre, but more than mere reporting. The author's journalistic attention to detail is essential to the drama, with some added touch relating personal experiences and interactions with the principal characters. Again, the approach was very unique, well-written, and quite entertaining. The City of Savannah can thank this book's success for putting it back onto the tourists' map. The author's follow-up didn't do as well, partly because Savannah is much more accessible to the American audience than an aristocratic city in Europe. Lastly, I saw the movie after reading the book, and I found the movie to be boring compared to the book!! Read the book, skip the movie, and visit Savannah!
patitrisha More than 1 year ago
I remember when this book was published and all the positive publicity. I do not normally read non-fiction. This was beautifully written, a pure pleasure to read. The cast of characters was truly incredible and I would need to remind myself this is real. If you have not read this yet, don't hesitate yo give this book a try.
RSEdwards More than 1 year ago
I concur with another reviewer here that the Abridged version of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" was a disappointment. So much of the story was glossed over with broad summaries of plot events, a goodly portion of the tension and detail that make a story engrossing apparently fell on the cutting room floor. And as previously noted elsewhere, there's an additional disk featuring the author patting himself on the back, a dubious bonus that could have been used instead for the novel. I used this experience to ensure I only purchase unabridged novels in the future.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by Yvette Brink The novel I chose to review was Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt; published by Vintage Books, has 386 pages, and is $14 for paperback. I could not stop reading this non-fiction true crime murder mystery novel because of the way that John Berendt draws you into the lives of these Savannahians. Even casual readers will find themselves consumed by Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil because of its great detail and interesting characters. What I found the most interesting about this novel is that it is based on true events and real characters from Savannah, Georgia. The story of how John Berendt became involved in these events seems to me, meant to be. In Chapter 2, Berendt describes how he ended up going to savannah. He writes: I had seen it in a newspaper ad for supersaver airfares from New York to cities all across America. As I recall, the veal-and-radicchio entrée cost as much as a flight from New York to Louisville or any of six equidistant cities¿A week later I passed up the veal and radicchio and flew to New Orleans¿After that, every five or six weeks I took advantage of the newly deregulated airfares and flew out of New York in the company of a small group of friends interested in a change of scene. One of those weekend jaunts took us to Charleston, South Carolina¿On Sunday, my traveling companions went back to New York, but I stayed on in Charleston. I had decided to drive down to Savannah, spend the night and fly back to New York from there. (24-27) Fortunately John stays on in Savannah for more than one night. He actually ends up staying in Savannah off and on for more than eight years following the characters and the specific event that involves one of Savannah¿s most prominent society figures. John Berendt does an excellent job of introducing the characters of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Berendt splits the novel up into two parts. The first part consists of an introduction to the people of Savannah. The second part consists of a highly interesting murder mystery involving one of the main characters. In the first part of the novel, each chapter reads as an individual story. `A Walking Streak of Sex¿, `The Sentimental Gentleman¿ and `The Grand Empress of Savannah¿ are just an example of the interesting titles given to the stories of the unique characters of this novel. `The Grand Empress of Savannah¿ is about Chablis, an African-American drag queen with lots of attitude. In `A Walking Streak of Sex¿ you are introduced to Danny Hansford, a twenty-two year old who is a pothead who likes to live life a little dangerously by driving his Camaro recklessly. The second part of Midnight revolves around the murder mystery that takes place between two characters while John Berendt is visiting Savannah. Berendt takes you along for the ride as you try to figure out if the death of one of the characters is a result of murder or self-defense. You sit in on the court case and witness the comically complex and political trial of the accused murderer. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is definitely worth your time. It is great entertainment and hard to put down. I recommend it all readers because it is so easy flowing and fast paced. I had my friend, who is not a big fan of reading anything but magazines, read it and he absolutely loved it. I could not find any other books written by John Berendt but I found out that he mainly does editing for New York magazine and is a columnist for Esquire. John Berendt does such a wonderful job portraying the events of this story that it would be a shame if he weren¿t in the works of another novel. With characters as interesting as those in Midnight, I don¿t see how you could not enjoy reading this novel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil provided an insight to Savannah Georgia that made you want to go and visit, to see if you might meet some of the people in the book and also to see if Savannah was really as beautiful and full of snobby people as the author John Berendt portrayed. Mr. Berendt also does a good job of making his characters come to life. They aren't just words on a page; they are actual people interacting in the story. There are parts when you think that the characters will jump off the page and invite you to a party or convict you of being an accomplice to murder. The beginning of the book provides a lot of background information to the people of Savannah and the town in general. You also find out a lot about the different characters such as where they live, what they do for a living, and the little mysteries that surround each character. In the second part of the book you learn that the main character, Jim Williams, has murdered his helper Danny Hansford. The rest of the book is spent going through the four trails that Jim has before he finally has his name cleared. The last part of the book also shows how the town reacts to Jim and each other after they found out what has happened. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a good book if you like a lot if background information and insight into a place. It is easy reading and intriguing; it makes you think about the friends and neighbors that you have and the life they might lead behind your back.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good southern story. Read it for free from your local library ;)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this was an excellent read. The background on the characters was quite entertaining. The whole trial process seemed to wrap up pretty quickly, but I think that kept the book from dragging too much.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a very enjoyable book for me to read. I have visited Savannah and I think that made it even more interesting. I was not very interested in reading it because I don't like to read storylines that involve murder. But this book is so different. It told about not only the court case but about the city and it's unique and sometimes quirkey townpeople. I saw the movie and it was okay. But it does not compare to the book. Once I started this book I found it hard to put down. I cannot think of anyother book I have read that compares to this one. I feel like this book will appeal to a vary wide group of readers.
Mahuenga More than 1 year ago
BeagleGirl123 More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure what took me so long to read this book. An absolute page turner that I couldn't put down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lori_OGara on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this book but it was hard to stay motivated. It seem to drag on a bit. I did buy this in Savannah and saw some of the locations in the book wich made reading it fun. The characters are so life like and Berendt writes them vividly. Overall is a good read.
Lenaphoenix on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
bkoopman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book reads like a page turning fictional mystery, but is actually non-fiction. It was riveting, a real page turner!
MarkKeeffe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Pretty good. The second half is taken up with a murder trial and written in the style of Truman Capote's book. However this book is really about a city in America's south. It's extremely well researched and written.
SesameG on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
For heaven's sake don't watch the movie, or you'll deny yourself the full enjoyment of this funny, profane, and quirky page-turner. Perfect for a lazy summer day (hammock and mint julep optional). I won't say more, except to say that, while it certainly won't change your life, every person I've recommended this to has devoured it with relish.
emmylee04 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thought this was a great example of what true crime can be when in the hands of a really good writer. This book is actually two parts. The first part sets up the scene - the oh-so-southern Savannah, Georgia, and the many characters the author met while living there. This, I thought, was the better half of the book. Berendt does a great job of introducing the residents of Savannah and makes you feel like it's a place you've lived. I had to keep reminding myself it was a non-fiction novel, since many of the characters he introduced are totally outlandish. I found myself wondering more than once how he managed to be granted access to the most personal parts of these people's lives. The second part of the book, the "true crime" part, seems more of a throwaway part to me. It's the story of a man who kills a younger man who has been living with him. With homosexuality, money, and pride each playing a role in the crime, it takes four trials to finally render a final verdict. I didn't feel as though this part of the book was developed as well. It seemed more like Berendt wanted to write a novel about his crazy friends in Savannah, and then the trial happened, which would help the book sell more. In any case, I thought it was an entertaining read, and I would recommend it to anyone who has ever lived in the South.
rmiesel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sally June Olson Krey recommended I read this book for the sake of the depiction of the amazing cast of characters in Savannah. She was right. Very much a fun read.!
ahandfulofconfetti on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book took me an exceptionally long time to read. I tried a few years ago and couldn't get past the first few chapters, and then re-started, took a couple months off, and finally finished it today. The story itself - the actual murder and subsequent trial - were interesting, particularly since the case itself was rather ground-breaking in terms of how many times they tried to try Jim Williams for the murder (and the incompetence of the District Attorney was also kind of astounding). But the story suffered - in my opinion - from the way it was written. It took nearly half the book for the actual murder to take place; instead, we get chapter after chapter where all these crazy, unbelievable characters are introduced. And they are even more unbelievable because they ARE real. You have the guy who knows poisons and could poison the entire town's water supply if the mood struck him. You have his girlfriend, a pinup from the 1940s and 1950s who lounges around her house in her negligee, and drives around intoxicated. And then there is Chablis, a ridiculously over-the-top drag queen. It's hard to believe that one town could contain so many different personalities, but Savannah pulls it off.I enjoyed the look at the characters but sort of spent most of the book just wanting to get to the point. The problem is that I can't actually tell you what the point is. If the book had focused solely on the murder and trials, it would have been boring, even if the four different trials all provided something different and vaguely entertaining. So perhaps the point was the eccentricities of the people of Savannah. But I found myself getting bored by their many descriptions as well. It got to the point where I didn't let myself read anything but this book, just so I would finish it, and now that I'm done with it, I'm just sort of left feeling underwhelmed. Clearly, this book just wasn't for me; at least I can finally cross it off my to-read list, if nothing else!