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Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

by Rob Friesel

Midnight in the Garden of Good and EvilGoodreads calls its 5★ rating “Amazing”.  I don’t know if Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil fits that specific superlative, but I would agree that it is approximately one of the most perfectly constructed and tightly written narratives I have encountered. First, a note about the book:

My feelings toward “creative non-fiction” are a bit on the love/hate end of things. I have nothing specifically against creative non-fiction but my inner would-be-novelist thinks that something about it seems like cheating. After all, you didn’t invent the story, even if you went to great pains to bring it to literary life. On the other hand, a good story deserves to be told — and as long as you’re talented enough to do it…

Well, John Berendt was certainly talented enough to do it. As I mentioned above, the narrative is almost perfectly paced and almost perfectly structured. It is instantly engaging and strikes all the right notes to cue you in on where the story is headed without telegraphing each next move. Savannah, Georgia, provides an instantly surreal and visceral back-drop for this story. I hate to give it all away but allow me at least mention that, though Kevin Spacey and John Cusack put on great performances in the film adaptation, the movie version is scarcely better than Cliffs’ Notes for this tapestry of grandeur, intrigue, and voodoo.

P.S.— don’t you think that “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” is THE BEST TITLE EVER??

A version of this review appears on Goodreads.com.

About Rob Friesel

Software engineer by day, science fiction writer by night. Author of The PhantomJS Cookbook and a short story in Please Do Not Remove. View all posts by Rob Friesel →

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