The Witches of Eastwick

John Updike

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The Witches of Eastwick

The Witches of Eastwick Toward the end of the Vietnam era in a snug little Rhode Island seacoast town wonderful powers have descended upon Alexandra Jane and Sukie bewitching divorc es with sudden access to all that is

  • Title: The Witches of Eastwick
  • Author: John Updike
  • ISBN: 9780739370810
  • Page: 264
  • Format: Audio CD
  • Toward the end of the Vietnam era, in a snug little Rhode Island seacoast town, wonderful powers have descended upon Alexandra, Jane, and Sukie, bewitching divorc es with sudden access to all that is female, fecund, and mysterious Alexandra, a sculptor, summons thunderstorms Jane, a cellist, floats on the air and Sukie, the local gossip columnist, turns milk into cream.Toward the end of the Vietnam era, in a snug little Rhode Island seacoast town, wonderful powers have descended upon Alexandra, Jane, and Sukie, bewitching divorc es with sudden access to all that is female, fecund, and mysterious Alexandra, a sculptor, summons thunderstorms Jane, a cellist, floats on the air and Sukie, the local gossip columnist, turns milk into cream Their happy little coven takes on new, malignant life when a dark and moneyed stranger, Darryl Van Horne, refurbishes the long derelict Lenox mansion and invites them in to play Thenceforth scandal flits through the darkening, crooked streets of Eastwick and through the even darker fantasies of the town s collective psyche.From the Trade Paperback edition.

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    One thought on “The Witches of Eastwick

    1. Ellen on said:

      I'm suprised by all the reviews of this book that speak of Updike's ability to "get" and fully understand women because that seemed to me to be the most blatantly lacking part of this novel. There is not one redeemable female character in this novel. All of the women are vapid, vacuous and more often than not cruel, indifferent and self-absorbed. I am not being prudish, I'm not suggesting that every female character should be a paradigm of female virtue - but what is Updike saying about women, [...]

    2. Joe Valdez on said:

      My introduction to the fiction of John Updike is The Witches of Eastwick and based on 111 pages, it's going to take Elizabeth Montgomery wiggling her nose for me to pick up one of the author's books again. Published in 1984, this literature is set in a quaint Rhode Island town (described down to the flowers or carpeting) where three bewitching women (described down to their facial features and dialects) become involved with a brutish bachelor named Darryl Van Horne. Some might even say he's the [...]

    3. Karly *The Vampire Ninja, Luminescent Monster & Wendigo Nerd Goddess of Canada (according to The Hulk)* on said:

      U, is for Updike.1 I would like to go back and never purchase this StarIt’s not you it’s me! You know what?! It IS you, it is 100% YOU, Updike!! This book is AWFUL!!There are so many attempts to make this book edgy that it came off entirely underwhelming. I mean, it took me over 2 months just to finish it for fuck’s sake! A 300 page novel… two months?! That is actually unheard of, for me!! I found every reason under the sun (of which there has been lots these last two months) to not read [...]

    4. Matt on said:

      I read this book the way it ought to be read, or at least in the circumstances which are best suited for it.I was away at a beach house for a weekend in the middle of summer and had pretty much nothing to do but lollygag around, smoke cigarettes, and read this book.It's perfect for sunny clear skies and long hours drinking lemonade by the ocean. The writing is crisp, quick and clear. Updike's pretty much encyclopedic when it comes to writing skills and he's doing everything pretty smoothly here: [...]

    5. Julie on said:

      I'm generally a fan of Updike's writing, despite its tendency to flirt with misogyny, but this novel of his is barely readable. Conceptually, it was a fascinating idea, and I can only assume it was the concept, rather than the actual novel, that triggered the idea for the movie.

    6. Lori on said:

      High Hopes will almost always set a reader up for a fall. The excitement of chosing a book, THIS book, to begin my month Witches and spells to celebrate the Halloween spirit of October.(sigh)Having never seen the film, or read any Updike novels before, I really did not know what to expect. I only knew that I expected great things. And sadly, this novel did not deliver many great things at all.(sigh)A little over two weeks spent trying to get into a novel that is only 306 pages long. That's an av [...]

    7. Jess on said:

      I wish I loved anything as much as John Updike loved the sight of his own words on the page.The Witches of Eastwick has A Point To Make about the role of women in white, middle class, 1960s America. And it makes this point by embracing one of history's oldest conceits: independent women are evil. They're witches. And while the magical divorcées of Eastwick aren't burned at the stake of accused of turning young men into toads, they come close to the mid-twentieth-century version thereof. Accused [...]

    8. Tani on said:

      Ugh. I did not enjoy this book. Read it for a class, otherwise I probably wouldn't have finished it. As it was, the boyfriend had to endure some outraged ranting. The characters were flat in the extreme, when they weren't being petty bitches. And the message! Maybe I was reading it wrong, but the message I got was that women are only powerful when they don't have men. Doesn't matter if they leave the men, or the men leave them. All that matters is the absence. Then, when they have that power, th [...]

    9. Artemis Slipknot on said:

      Είχα υψηλότερες προσδοκίες από αυτό το βιβλίο! Δεν έχει κάτι ιδιαίτερο, ούτε κάτι σκοτεινό, ούτε ιδιαίτερη μαγεία. Ένα πολύ χλιαρό βιβλίο.

    10. Celery on said:

      I must confess that I was hoping that this book would be a light/fluffy/fun read. I really loved the movie and was looking forward to some light hearted revenge to ease the aching in my brain. Unfortunately for me and my brain, the only things from this book that made it into the movie were the three witches, the horrible rich man (wasn't Jack Nicholson just perfect in this roletally disgusting but still Jackyou gotta love him), and the game of tennis. Okay, maybe some other stuff too, but not m [...]

    11. Luís C. on said:

      It tells us a slice of life of three divorced mothers who grow their emancipation (which often looks like carelessness) in their small hometown of Rhode Island and the milestones that occur within it. We are in the era of the Vietnam War, the mood and mindset which then prevailed in America. A mysterious eccentric who settled nearby just messing up their lives. Oh, these 3 women practice witchcraft. This is something very present throughout the novel. Nevertheless, I would characterize the conte [...]

    12. Anna Viemose on said:

      I picked up this book because of a few great quotes I'd heard from it. I wasn't disappointed on that front: the prose was beautiful and intelligent.However, the actual story was not. As so many people have said, this book reads like an old man trying to write a feminist book. While I love the idea of women being empowered by their bodies, the descriptions of this were sometimes cringeworthy - period cramps were exaggerated hugely, and the ability to give birth was portrayed as the be-all end-all [...]

    13. Rebecca on said:

      I love this book. Not only does John Updike write heavenly prose, but this book is quite the feminist manifesto. Jane, Sukie, and Alexandra are created by Updike with care and attention, and they are fun, well-drawn personalities to spend a little time with. Updike uses the natural setting of Eastwick, Rhode Island to great advantage. If you feel like getting away to one of those small hamlets on the eastern seaboard, watching a storm come in from the sea, this is the book that will take you the [...]

    14. emily on said:

      this is a book in which characters look in the mirror to see how good-looking they are (particularly to admire their voluptuous breasts, or the breasts of their friends). it is also a book in which john updike tries to write feminist characters but succeeds only in building up a group of women who hate each other, who hate their children, who hate other women, and who are idly superior to the menh.

    15. Jenny (Reading Envy) on said:

      I first picked this book up on one of my book speed-dating projects, and went back to it when I needed something to read before falling asleep. For John Updike, this really is quite fluffy. That's a good thing because I've abandoned Rabbit, Run at least twice - I just hate the characters so much that I can't even go along with the author on the journey.I'm not really sure whose side to take on this book, because I have read that this was Updike's response to complaints of misogyny in his Rabbit [...]

    16. Amanda L on said:

      Initially I was extremely impressed with how well Updike crafted at least two of the three female leads. He seemed to be very in touch with female concerns and sensibilities and the characters, even though at times annoying, were on the whole quite likable because they felt very real.These characters could only carry the story so far, however. Aside from the fact that their sensibilities became increasingly reminiscent of those we might expect men to impose on them, the story itself was really s [...]

    17. Almeta on said:

      Having seen the movie first, the cast of characters was already set in my mind. I could not envision them in any other way. This didn't really get in the way, but some of the differences in premise and plot did disappoint.(view spoiler)[I think I liked it better that (in the movie) the women didn't know that they were witches originally and were therefore surprised by their power. I like how Van Horne built their confidence in their passions. Those passions, in turn, fueling their sexual appetit [...]

    18. Ana Rînceanu on said:

      Aside from Updike's beautiful writing, there is not much to recommend the book when you have the option of watching the much better, George Miller-directed movie. While the movie focuses on female friendship and how it's affected by a f*ck-boy, the book introduces a coven of women who have a love-hate relationship with their sexuality and each other.Mind you the movie isn't perfect, but at least it lacks Updile's weird way of bringing body fluids and odors into focus one too many times.

    19. Kirsten on said:

      I really enjoyed the writing in this book, but as a whole it left me feeling kind of unsettled and ambiguous. I think what ultimately bothered me was the way that the witches, who had been hurt by men, seemed to spend all their time using magic against other women. That was probably the point, but it's sort of one of those things that's been pointed out so often that I've ceased to find it very compelling or clever. I'd be interested in other peoples' thoughts on this book, though.

    20. SoManyBooks SoLittleTime (Aven Shore) on said:

      I was so young when I read this. I thought it was very strange at the time. But much of it stuck with me, including the mental images of Cher and Jack Nicholson, despite never seeing the movie!

    21. Lina K on said:

      I have just finished watching the last episode of short lived tv series "Eastwick" and it made me wonder about the ideas that the story explores.I found some interesting reviews on this site and it brought back the memory of this book. I believe I read it a couple of years ago - I still remember how disappointing it was In some way I could compare it to The Vanity Fair which I really didn't like - I am not sure I was able to even finish it (or maybe it was so disappointing that I don't even reme [...]

    22. Jill on said:

      Hmmm- very conflicted about this one. Having never read Updike before, I wasn't sure what to expect. It's beautifully written and very erudite, but something tells me John Updike doesn't like women very much. I had the strangest feeling reading this: it is nominally about three women, but I felt like I was reading an anthropological study of an alien culture. I've never met a woman who acted or felt like any of these did. (SPOILERS)I was interested, and the language kept me reading, but my God I [...]

    23. Wreade1872 on said:

      So firstly, this bares as little in common with its film adaptation as 'The Stepford Wives' soooo not a lot. Unfortunately this isn't the boon you might think it is.Set in the sixties and with certain feminist (or attempted feminist) undertones it does actually have a certain The Stepford Wives vibe at times, mixed with the The Master and Margarita perhaps. However its far inferior to either of those.Its main problem is that nothing happens i mean Nothing! There was a few moments of interest at [...]

    24. Alissa on said:

      Three witches, what's going through their heads, gossip and how they handle the new man in town, that's pretty ,much the plot. While I can't say I loved the story, the description, details and generally the way Updike wrote it was impressive. "Driving home in her Subaru, whose interior smelled of dog, she saw the full moon with its blotchy mournful face in the top of her tinted windshield and irrationally thought for a second that astronauts had landed and in an act of imperial atrocity had spra [...]

    25. Roderick Vincent on said:

      A big disappointment after reading Terrorist. InTerrorist, Updike had such a firm grip on his characters, whereas here, I felt they fell through his fingers. The Witches of Eastwick proves that good writing doesn't necessarily equal good story. While some of the scenes were well done in terms of witchcraft (Alexandra on the beach conjuring up a storm), opportunities were squandered. Instead of pursuing the art of witchcraft and all sorts of potential conflicts with the characters, half of the ti [...]

    26. Karin Bengtsson on said:

      Ej läst klart. Språket är mer än en etta men boken är så förbannat kvinnohatande så att jag inte stod ut längre. Herregud. "It was fundamental and instinctive, it was womanly, to want to heal - to appeal the poultice of acquiescent flesh to the wound of a mans desire, to gice his closeted spirit the exaltation of seein a witch slíp out of her clothes []"Nej, Updike, kvinnor har ingen grundläggande instinkt att tröstknulla män. Det är dina jävla gubbsjuka fantasier. Hade bokens huv [...]

    27. Amanda Lyons on said:

      As many people know from the movie, this is a book about three witches in a small town and what happens when a mysterious and inexplicably (largely because he's clearly a bit of a jackass) charming man comes to town. Each of them is a different woman, one mother goddess artist, one a dissatisfied but passionate musician, and the other a light-hearted fluffy soul who has a gossip column at the local paper. Mostly with this plot we're seeing what would happen if the divorced ladies of town found t [...]

    28. Kylin Larsson on said:

      The Witches of Eastwick feels like John Updike's reaction to the phenomenon of feminism. The classic witchy features of the three divorced women felt familiar from other stories and films. The three witches unstick themselves from small town drudgery when a warlock (or demon) in the guise of Daryl Van Horne buys an old residence on the outskirts of town. I was sometimes conscious of a forced feeling to the writing, a sense of trying too hard and stumbling. That writing possesses a haunting rhyth [...]

    29. J.A. Ironside on said:

      Ok I'm actually not going to rate this since I DNFed quite early. I think this might be at least 50% it's not the book, it's me. That said I might have got further if I hadn't felt that Updike was constantly sneering at his characters and by extension his readers (and possibly women in general?! but that could just be me) in an effort to appear literary and clever. What was annoying was that Updike can clearly write well and is naturally literary so why he took the tone with this he did I can't [...]

    30. Eric Chappell on said:

      Read Summer 2010; Re-read January 2011Summary: Wickedly entertaining. The Witches of Eastwick is about three divorced women in the New England town of Eastwick who discover that after being abandoned or divorced from their husbands, they have supernatural powers. Alexandra Spoffard, the sculptress, is the leader of the three. She makes little clay figurines (called "bubbies"), stores too much tomato sauce, and is carrying on an affair with Joe Marino, the town plumber. Jane Smart, the cellist, i [...]

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