Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"Sometime around midnight ...you lose yourself for a minute or two." Song Lyrics

"Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" is really a novel about the city of Savannah, its people and history.

"Esquire" writer John Berendt is in Savannah, Georgia, to write a story about the extravagant holiday party that Jim Williams hosts yearly.

Williams is one of the true characters of the area. He's an antique dealer and was influential in the restoration of Savannah's historic district. He lives in the family home of songwriter, Johnny Mercer.

There are a number of truly unique personalities populating the story. The mournful Luther Driggers is an eccentric who was an inventor whose ideas never made him any money and is said to carry a quantity of poison with him. He also plays with houseflies.

Serina Dawes is a friend of Luther and a wealthy woman who enjoys her life of leisure. There is also the notable character Lady Chablis, a cross dressing nightclub singer who has a major role in the story.

Jim Williams is accused of murdering his companion Danny Hansford who is known for his drug dependency and explosions of temper.

Berendt lays out the scenario slowly, perhaps, in comparison to the pace of life in the city. We learn of the history of the city, some of the facts in the redevelopment and the mix of interesting people who inhabit the area.

It is also interesting to see the society members who attend William's annual party and how their friendship and attitude changes when Williams is accused but before any verdict of murder or innocence is proclaims.

I enjoyed the book but thought the pace was a bit slow. Berendt brings Savannah to life and allows the reader to form their own opinion about the lifestyle of the inhabitants and what goes on at midnight, in this garden of good and evil.


Tea said...

I remember the popularity of this book. I think people were traveling in droves to Savannah to see the different places mentioned in the book. Really enjoyed your review.

mike draper said...

Thanks for your comments, Tea. It is such a nice thing when friends stop by and comment.

BrittanyGale said...

Interesting that you reviewed this book. I just bought it recently. I did like the movie, so I guess I'll see how the book goes. Nice review!


mike draper said...

It is a coincidence, Brittany. I think that this is a book that you have to read slowly to appreciate the setting and unique characters.

Johanna said...

Thanks for the review, I always wanted to read this book but, for some reason never came around to picking it up. I think I will wait a little longer. I'm not big on books at a slow pace. :-)

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