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John Berendt's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil has been heralded as a "lyrical work of nonfiction," and the book's extremely graceful prose depictions of some of Savannah, Georgia's most colorful eccentrics--remarkable characters who could have once prospered in a William Faulkner novel or Eudora Welty short story--were certainly a critical factor in its tremendous success. (One resident into whose orbit Berendt fell, the Lady Chablis, went on to become a minor celebrity in her own right.) But equally important was Berendt's depiction of Savannah socialite Jim Williams as he stands trial for the murder of Danny Hansford, a moody, violence-prone hustler--and sometime companion to Williams--characterized by locals as a "walking streak of sex." So feel free to call it a "true crime classic" without a trace of shame.
After discovering in the early 1980s that a super-saver fare to Savannah, Ga., cost the same as an entree in a nouvelle Manhattan restaurant, Esquire columnist Berendt spent the next eight years flitting between Savannah and New York City. The result is this collection of smart, sympathetic observations about his colorful Southern neighbors, including a jazz-playing real estate shark; a sexually adventurous art student; the Lady Chablis (' "What was your name before that?" I asked. "Frank," she said.' "); the gossipy Married Woman's Card Club; and an assortment of aging Southern belles. The book is also about the wealthy international antiques dealer Jim Williams, who played an active role in the historic city's restoration--and would also be tried four times for the 1981 shooting death of 21-year-old Danny Handsford, his high-energy, self-destructive house helper. The Williams trials--he died in 1990 of a heart attack at age 59--are lively matches between dueling attorneys fought with shifting evidence, and they serve as both theme and anchor to Berendt's illuminating and captivating travelogue.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
This book is as good as the movie!! If you are a fan of history, crime, and eclectic characters then this book is for youPublished 3 days ago by T-Rex1030
Read the book, saw the movie and laughed so hard at times I cried, but there was a lot of sadness too.Published 3 days ago by Carters
Well written and captivating, I couldn't put it down! Fantastic story I'll read again and highly recommend. An absolutely wonderful book.Published 8 days ago by Sarah Ulicky
My second reading of this great book. Although non-fiction, it's written as a novel, with many quirky characters.Published 11 days ago by Tracy A. Sullivan
An amazing story, well written and Savannah oozes off the pages. We are going to visit Savannah next week and look forward to tracing a few steps! Highly recommend.Published 12 days ago by Ken Grether