Monday, September 17, 2007

In Your Old El Camino, Singing in the Rain

Had a hard time getting to sleep last night, so polished off another book:

#40 -- "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" by John Berendt

Exhibit B in "Greg comes very late to the best-sellers." I'll get to "The Da Vinci Code" one of these days. I actually wanted to read this back when it came out, made the mistake of seeing the rather lackluster movie first, and was put off until the Ski Bum lent it to me, years later.

I'd figured the book was primarily about the murder that forms the centerpiece of the film, but in the first half, it's much more just a portrait of the Old South, an Old Savannah that was disappearing in the '70s and '80s. The descriptions of the town, and society, are fantastic. It's been years since I've been to Savannah -- after reading the book, I want to head back just to see Bonaventure Cemetery.

The people, though... I realize that Berendt changed some identities and (I presume) some of the dialogue to better suit his narrative, but every single character in the book is a larger-than-life type, talking in an expository style that can get kind of hard to take at times. Stephen King once wrote (discussing Anne Rivers Siddons' "The House Next Door," which I loved once upon a time) something to the effect of "do people really talk like this, even in the South?" One person talking like that would be a bit much to take -- a book full of 'em and I was ready to move back to Colorado.

Overall -- fun potboiler, and it did reawaken my desire to go to Savannah. One of these weekends...

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