**** Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, John Berendt, Savannah, Georgia

Savannah (photo: wikimedia.org)

As it seems I’m one of the last people in America to read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, John Berendt’s 20-year-old best-seller, I’d heard enough sly references and snippets—especially when the movie (trailer) came out–to have a pretty good idea of what I’d encounter in its Historic District (free map!). I was not disappointed. While many people gravitated to the over-the-top drag queen, The Lady Chablis, my favorite character was Minerva, the purple-glasses wearing juju expert. Berendt allows that, although his book is nonfiction, he did mess with the time sequence a bit and disguise a few characters who needed a veil of privacy. Savannahians surely know when and who.

I hadn’t realized Savannah was so geographically and topographically isolated and that its residents used that isolation to their advantage, wanting “nothing so much as to be left alone,” Berendt says. “Every nuance and quirk of personality achieved greater brilliance in that lush enclosure than would have been possible anywhere else in the world.” It’s sadly ironic, then, that his book has inspired so many tourists and Midnight-themed tours.

And the perfect, related cocktail?