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Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1994)

por John Berendt

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
14,756288379 (3.86)454
History. True Crime. Nonfiction. HTML:Read John Berendt's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil in Large Print.
* All Random House Large Print editions are published in a 16-point typeface
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: A Savannah Story is a sublime and seductive reading experience.  Brilliantly conceived and masterfully written, this enormously engaging portrait of a most beguiling Southern city is certain to become a modern classic.
… (mais)
  1. 30
    The Devil in the White City por Erik Larson (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Offering rich details of Savannah in the 1980s (Midnight in the Garden) and Chicago in the 1890s (Devil in the White City), these well-researched and dramatic recreations of terrible crimes are equally compelling, despite differences in time period and location.… (mais)
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    Run with the Horsemen por Ferrol Sams (libelulla1)
    libelulla1: Filled with quirky characters in a southern town.
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    The Library Book por Susan Orlean (Othemts)
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    Without Reservation: The Making of America's Most Powerful Indian Tribe and Foxwoods, the World's Largest Casino por Jeff Benedict (jbvm)
    jbvm: This is another 'truth is stranger than fiction' work involving local politics and criminal investigation.
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» Ver também 454 menções

Inglês (285)  Espanhol (2)  Finlandês (1)  Holandês (1)  Todas as línguas (289)
Mostrando 1-5 de 289 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
loved it. The city, the people the "mystery" was a minor player but it all added up to a good read ( )
  cspiwak | Mar 6, 2024 |
I ran across a news article about 2024 being the 30th anniversary of this book and giving some detail about it. Shortly after that a copy appeared in our Little Free Library, and some friends highly recommended it as well. Of course I had heard of the hype over it some years back, but had never gotten around to reading it. So I decided it was finally time to do that. It did not meet my expectations, which admittedly, were probably a bit higher than they should have been.

The book was alright and while I didn't find it riveting, it was somewhat entertaining, or informative at least. As all sources had indicated, it was truly more of a memoir of a particular period in Savannah society and a few of the upper crust and those who were involved with them. In covering the murder case of a troubled young man and his accused murderer, a high end antiques dealer; it managed to paint a portrait for us of Savannah in the 1970's and 80's.

The writing style was adequate and straightforward, with no frills. As the author had written magazine articles for many years, this makes perfectly good sense. That style is just what we find in the book, as well.

Events, details and descriptions were laid out matter of factly, with no pretense at suspense or complex story lines.

And so the story of Jim Williams, Danny Hansford and 8 years of jury trials, with descriptions of Savannah, and some if its inhabitants woven in, unfolds for us to its denouement. ( )
  shirfire218 | Mar 4, 2024 |
Probably closer to 3.5 stars. Interesting, funny, readable, but not amazing or life-changing. Failed to make me think. ( )
  caedocyon | Feb 23, 2024 |
Nonfiction books, even those covering a specific event in a specific setting, tend to be a little dull in their dry factualness. Nonfiction true crime has a tendency toward moralizing. Berendt’s story of a young man killed by his lover/employer in an isolated Georgia town avoids both. He carries the reader along with charming descriptions of the people of Savannah, who seem just like crazy characters in a Southern Gothic lit novel. But these are real people, and supposedly the stories he tells about them are real, as well, and I would get a sudden jolt when he’d slip a chilling fact in amongst the tale of some cheerful eccentricity, such as the town’s complacent acceptance of a jury letting a group of men go free because the victim they stomped to death was “just” a homosexual, or of Savannah’s extraordinarily high murder rate because the victims are mostly black, so it’s “a black problem”.

His storytelling is calculated to entertain, and he treats the town and its people with affection, but he does not refrain from telling the whole story and leaving the judgement up to the reader.

I read this book for the Twelve Tasks of the Festive Season challenge. This book was for Task the Third: The Holiday Party (Read a book where a celebration is a big part of the action), because the action in the book revolves around a series of parties and ceremonies, from the annual Christmas party given by the killer, to the never-ending house party given by the lawyer/conman, to the society ladies’ exclusive tea parties, to the midnight graveyard ceremonies conducted by the voodoo woman. ( )
  Doodlebug34 | Jan 1, 2024 |
This is my second reading of “the book” as it became known in Savannah after being published in 1994, spawning a film version and a resurgence of tourism. Journalist John Berendt came down from New York, stayed a few years, and managed to capture the insular eccentricity of a small slice of Savannah’s culture. He wrote about Lady Chablis, Joe Odum, Jim Williams and other compelling characters with a sharp eye.

The Savannah in the book, one of hard drinking, high and low society; old, new and no money may be history now, but still lives on in some way. Berendt portrayed Savannah as the most interesting place he knew, that was his art. It drew, and still draws, an uncounted number of tourists trying to capture his version of the city.

Drinking, backbiting and gossip are the major activities and sport in the story. Antique dealer Jim Williams and his four murder trials for shooting his young lover are central to the book. His trial defense employs the unique services of a voodoo woman named Minerva. “She’s thrown graveyard dirt at some of the best homes in Savannah, God bless her,” Williams told Berendt. “I give her twenty-five dollars a day, and I’ve learned not to ask questions.” ( )
  Hagelstein | Dec 16, 2023 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 289 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
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.
adicionada por GYKM | editarThe New York Times Book Review
 

» Adicionar outros autores (7 possíveis)

Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Berendt, JohnAutorautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Carson, Carol DevineDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Heald, AnthonyNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Martínez-Lage, MiguelTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Pardi, AndrásTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Piélat, ThierryTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Rijk, Peter deTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Wilczek, PiotrTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Woodman, JeffNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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History. True Crime. Nonfiction. HTML:Read John Berendt's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil in Large Print.
* All Random House Large Print editions are published in a 16-point typeface
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: A Savannah Story is a sublime and seductive reading experience.  Brilliantly conceived and masterfully written, this enormously engaging portrait of a most beguiling Southern city is certain to become a modern classic.

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