Friday, February 29, 2008

John Berendt in Savannah, Georgia

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is categorized as a non-fiction book, but it's told in the style of fiction. The author, a writer from New York City, decides to start spending time in Savannah, Georgia. Here he meets a crazy cast of characters who are more reminiscent of the antebellum South than modern day America. The author is John Berendt, and he seems to penetrate a very closed society. Savannah is not as gracious a host to visitors as other cities in Georgia. The citizens seem to enjoy their reclusiveness from the rest of the State.

I read Midnight on the coattails of The City of Falling Angels. This is chronologically out of order, but the same question occurred to me in both novels, "how does this man manage to win himself into the good graces of these societies?" Berendt portrays both cities as unwelcoming to outsiders. Yet he, a New Yorker, thereby an outsider, manages to get close to the elite...and notorious.

Neither book contains much in the way of suspense even though they do both revolve around a crime in the city. Midnight dealt with the murder of a young man. He was killed by Jim Williams, an antiques dealer who was held in very high regard throughout the city. There was never a question of whether or not Jim killed Danny Hansford. The question is did he do it pre-meditatively or in self-defense.

I didn't find the actual plot to be that intriguing, but as with City of Falling Angels, I was intrigued by the non-fiction aspects of the book: learning little facts about Savannah and its people.


  © Blogger templates 'Neuronic' by 2008

Back to TOP