BKMT READING GUIDES



 
Interesting,
Slow,
Informative

11 reviews

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
by John Berendt

Published: 2010-05-12
Kindle Edition : 402 pages
18 members reading this now
83 clubs reading this now
42 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 9 of 11 members
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 ...
No other editions available.
Add to Club Selections
Add to Possible Club Selections
Add to My Personal Queue
Jump to

Introduction

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.

Editorial Review

Voodoo. Decadent socialites packing Lugars. Cotillions. With towns like Savannah, Georgia, who needs Fellini? Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil takes two narrative strands--each worthy of its own book--and weaves them together to make a single fascinating tale. The first is author John Berendt's loving depiction of the characters and rascals that prowled Savannah in the eight years it was his home-away-from-home. "Eccentrics thrive in Savannah," he writes, and proves the point by introducing Luther Diggers, a thwarted inventor who just might be plotting to poison the town's water supply; Joe Odom, a jovial jackleg lawyer and squatter nonpareil; and, most memorably, the Lady Chablis, whom you really should meet for yourself. Then, on May 2, 1981, the book's second story line commences, when Jim Williams, a wealthy antique dealer and Savannah's host with the most, kills his "friend" Danny Hansford. (If those quotes make you suspect something, you should.) Was it self-defense, as Williams claimed--or murder? The book sketches four separate trials, during which the dark side of this genteel party town is well and truly plumbed.

Excerpt

No Excerpt Currently Available

Discussion Questions

No discussion questions at this time.

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

No notes at this time.

Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
by [email protected] (see profile) 02/18/20

The town of Savanna as a character and the stories about the inhabitants were better than the details of the murder/trail. The amount of quirk in this book would alarm you.

 
by mary1925 (see profile) 11/08/18

 
by hkbarker (see profile) 05/23/17

 
  "slow but interesting and educational"by jensueadam (see profile) 01/20/17

Since it is a non fiction book I found it a very interesting read. It makes it more interesting to listen to interviews with the author after you read the book, he really adds insight to much of the details.... (read more)

 
  "Interesting story!"by Kydogs2 (see profile) 01/04/17

I love this book. I read it 20 years ago when it first came out and we just re read it for book club. It was just as fun and exciting. The characters are colorful, the story is fascinating and it is... (read more)

 
  "midnight in the garden of good and evil"by 18cinnamon (see profile) 06/02/15

This was not a book I wouldvhavevpicked for myself, so I am very glad our club picked it. It was a fun interesting read. I learned about Savannah. A few of our members had visited Savannah and loved... (read more)

Rate this book
MEMBER LOGIN
Remember me
BECOME A MEMBER it's free

Join the leading website for book clubs with over 35,000 clubs and 20,000 reading guides.

SEARCH OUR READING GUIDES Search
Search




FEATURED EVENTS
PAST AUTHOR CHATS
JOIN OUR MAILING LIST

Get free weekly updates on top club picks, book giveaways, author events and more
Please wait...