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Extended Audio Sample Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, by John Berendt Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (88,102 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Berendt Narrator: Jeff Woodman Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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 listening experience. Brilliantly conceived and masterfully written, this enormously engaging portrait of a most beguiling Southern city is a modern classic.

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Quotes & Awards

  • 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. The New York Times Book Review
  • A #1 New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Mab | 2/19/2014

    " I enjoyed this book. The first half more than the second half. I enjoyed the first half of the book more than the second. In the first half of the book you are getting to know the characters, which i must say is very interesting and hilarious at times. There is such a broad range of character types that I think without this, I wouldn't have given 4 stars. The second half of the book I felt kinda dragged on and on. I found myself struggling to finish it when I have flown much faster early on. But in general I'd recommend this book to everyone. It has something for everyone and anything based on a true story is worth reading, most of the time. =) I am looking forward to now finally watching the movie. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Stacie Peck | 1/24/2014

    " I can't believe I have not read this book until now. It turned out to be one of my favorites! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Maggie | 1/21/2014

    " This book was a bit slow at times, but it was overall a really funny, witty and entertaining read. I've recommended it to several people - some loved it, some hated it, but everyone I recommended it to laughed out loud at least once while reading it. Berendt introduces us to some truly colorful and unforgettable characters, and I got a real kick out of getting to know them through his writing. Apparently this book quadrupled the tourism industry in Savannah, and once you read it, you will understand why. The way he describes the characters, landscapes and houses make you feel that you're actually with/in them yourself, and make you want to see them for yourself. Highly recommended! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Demi Abromaits | 1/16/2014

    " I whipped through this book and enjoyed it thoroughly. Berendt has written a piece which does justice to the charm of Savannah-its history, architecture, present culture, and occupants are all presented with the unique dignity Savannah seems to foster. I was, as I can only imagine Berendt to have been, thoroughly charmed by the colorful characters present throughout. Yet I did feel a little let down in their development--many favorable figures appeared without really impacting the central actions of the Williams case (Chablis, Odom, and the man with the imaginary dog to name a few). By the end of the book I had lost interest in the crime and court proceedings and was far more entranced by the colorful characters. Though I appreciated this work greatly, I personally feel there was a lot left unsaid. Perhaps this literary tour of Savannah was too brief a visit, but Berendt has convinced me to one day see witness its charms first hand. "

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