Review: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

When we think of a nonfiction book, what usually comes to mind is something like the narrative prose of a true story like a biography. Generally, the nonfiction genre is not as popular as the fiction genre because nonfiction stories are slower and do not require as much analysis. I always believed that nonfiction stories tend to drag on longer than they should and I thought it was inevitable to lose interest after the first few chapters. However, my opinion of the nonfiction genre changed when I took an English course this term called the Craft of Nonfiction.

One of my favorite books from the class was Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt. The book focuses on an antique dealer named Jim Williams who is accused of murdering one of his workers and a male hustler named Danny Hansford. The story takes place in Savannah, Georgia and the author shifts his focus from one character to another and from one event to another. Therefore, Berendt tests the limits of the boundaries that puts a story under the category of nonfiction. He does not tell the story chronologically since he rearranges the sequence of events to dramatize them and to take the readers by surprise. While reading the book, I had to keep reminding myself that the peculiar characters and the beautiful yet isolated setting of Savannah are all real. This book is definitely recommended to readers who want to try nonfiction.

midnight in the garden of good and evil


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