Ellan Read

sometimes witty book reviews

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

‘Savannah’s resistance to change was it’s saving grace. The city looked inward, sealed off 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…Every nuance and quirk of personality achieved greater brilliance in that lush enclosure than would have been possible anywhere else in the world.’

You may have noticed by now that the books that make me think the most really stump me for words (bar perhaps Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog). Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1994) is way up there in dumbfounding-ness.

John Berendt has created here a text bursting with characters and the oozing with the long sweet drawl of the Southern life. Set in Savannah, Georgia the plot centres around a man tried four times for the same murder. Danny, the town’s ‘walking streak of sex’ is killed, supposedly by his boss. Some cite robbery, others a homoromantic tragedy.

Though this is perhaps one of my favourite books, I had to wikipedia the plot to jog my memory. Berendt’s characters are all I remember. They are splendid. Their splendour magnified when the reader discovers the characters to be based on real, Savannah-livin’ folks. In fact, Midnight is known simply in Savannah today as ‘The Book.’

Read this book. Witness the intersecting of lives at it’s very rawest; black, white, gay, transsexual, artistic, musical, scheming, secretive, protective, pig-headed and brilliant.

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This entry was posted on February 26, 2015 by in Bit of Both, USA and tagged , , , .

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