Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt

bookshelves: one-penny-wonder, true-grime, published-1994, spring-2011, nonfiction, north-americas, amusing, paper-read

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Brazilliant Laura
Read from May 13 to 14, 2011, read count: 2


** spoiler alert ** There is an inserted map, i.e. non attached, and given that this is a one-penny wonder I will forgive that I have seen the map with the biro comments – at this stage, the opening, nothing means nothing to me.

Double negatives do work the right way sometimes.

So, given that I have just gawped at how many have already have read this I am, right now, un-hyped and uninitiated as to what this is all about. I am hoping it will be along the lines of Savage Garden where there are follies and secrets in a garden designed as if it was the woods before the journey into Dante’s circles of hell. ETA I like surprises, that is why lots of books are bought, if I can nab ’em for a penny, without any prior knowledge as to genre. Just a few pages in and this is non-fiction, however it has not been established yet whether the line is Charles Manson or real life Savage Garden.

First line He was tall, about fifty, with darkly handsome, almost sinister features: a neatly trimmed mustache*, hair turning silver at the temples, and eyes so black they were like the tinted windows of a sleek limousine – he could see out, but you couldn’t see in.

*mustache – what a weird way of spelling moustaches.

Page 31 – ‘If you go to Atlanta, the first question they ask is, “What’s your business?” In Macon they ask, “where do you go to church?” In Augusta they ask your grandmother’s maiden name. But in Savannah the first question people ask you is “What would you like to drink?”‘

——-

Round about page 250, which is a fair way into Part II, I started skimming; first paragraphs then full pages and then only honing in on key words. Does anyone else see this as a cheap writer’s trick? The same way I saw Capote’s In Cold Blood

To sum up then, Part I has some beautiful portraiture and endearing whimsy. I loved learning about the restoration of Savannah and its lovely squares. Berendt lived/leached off Savannah and its occupants, and if I feel soiled then think of the people who live there.

4* for the wonderful characters; 1* for the journalist’s insiduousity; 5 stars for showing me around Savannah; 3* for (front-loaded) reading pleasure.

‘You mustn’t be taken in by moonlight and magnolias. There’s more to Savannah than that.

 

Monterey Square, Savannah”

 

1973 pontiac grand prix”

 

Tybee Island”

Twelve miles east of Savannah, beneath shallow layers of sand and water, an abandoned 7,600 pound nuclear bomb is biding its time, waiting to rain death and destruction on the southern Atlantic coastline. If not disarmed, perhaps some sleepy Sunday morning an atomic fireball will erupt on picturesque Wassaw Sound, shooting along nearby heavily travelled Interstate 80 with the force of a hundred hurricanes, instantly vaporizing tidal wetlands, and brutally fire-storming a vibrant, thriving metropolis—women, children, more than 200,000 people instantly incinerated—into a crumbling, deserted heap of radioactive rubble.
A cold, calculated act of terrorism? Not quite. It’s simply that the United States Air Force isn’t in the habit of picking up after itself.

 

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