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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 (88,294 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Berendt Narrator: Anthony Heald Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged 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

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Stuart | 2/19/2014

    " This isn't a novel, per se. It reads more like a book-length New Yorker article. New characters are introduced up to the very end. Not a page turner in every sense. An alternate, less misleading title could be "Profiles of Interesting People in Savannah." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jill | 2/10/2014

    " I started listening to this book on CD with my mom because of an upcoming trip to Savannah (the setting for the book), and got sucked in immediately - something that rarely happens to me when listening to an audio version. About a quarter way through I started reading the book so that I could get through it faster! The most amazing thing about Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is that it's a true story; the long list of wildly eccentric characters is enjoyable enough, but to know that they're actually real beings makes the story that much better. Berendt effectively mixes a fascinating historical account of Savannah with the goings-on - and most notably, the murder case of Jim Williams and Danny Hansford - of the city's high society. The book is at times uproariously funny and always a page-turner. I'm looking all the more forward to visiting Savannah now that I've got such a colorful picture of it painted in my head. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Marta | 1/28/2014

    " Absolutely riveting story about the magnificent Savannah! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Michelle | 1/26/2014

    " One of my all time favorites. "

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