Jonathan Keates

Paddling in murky waters

Published in 1995, John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil was one of those books whose success could be measured by the fact that dozens of people pretended they had read it when they hadn’t. Was this a novel, we wondered, or just snappy reportage with a few names changed and a spot of discreet decorative interference with actuality? Not that it mattered, so enjoyable was the pungent cocktail of murder, voodoo and gender reassignment amid the premier gratin, white or black, of Savannah, Georgia.

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