I've just finished reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt. Yes, the book is twenty years old and, yes, I'm just getting around to reading it. It's one of those books that I have always meant to read but, somehow, had never gotten around to. I'm glad that I didn't pick it up back then, though, because I'm not sure that twenty-four year old me could have appreciated it as much as forty-four year old me did.
This book is set in Savannah, Georgia and is based on real people (though some names have been changed for privacy) and events. The fact that this rich and vibrant cast of characters are real people just makes them that much more interesting. There's an inventor, a drag queen, an antiques dealer, a partying lawyer, a voodoo priestess among many others. There is even a murder with an interesting trial process mixed in.
The city is described in such detail that you feel as if you are walking its streets. The author delivers the nuances of Savannah society in a way that both amuses and fascinates. This city is geographically and, in many ways, closed off from the rest of the country and they quite like it that way; keeping to themselves, observing their own cultural rules and idiocyncrasies.
The author is a man who was not afraid to take new paths and get to know the oddest of people and he has transformed this into a book that is really hard to put down.
Sometimes, truth really is stranger than fiction and certainly more entertaining.