The Witches of Eastwick

The Witches of Eastwick

3.7 12
by John Updike
     
 

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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 divorcées 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

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Overview

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 divorcées 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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“John Updike is the great genial sorcerer of American letters [and] The Witches of Eastwick [one of his] most ambitious works. . . . [A] comedy of the blackest sort.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“A great deal of fun to read . . . fresh, constantly entertaining . . . John Updike [is] a wizard of language and observation.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
 
“Vintage Updike, which is to say among the best fiction we have.”—Newsday

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780449912102
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/28/1996
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
405,224
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“John Updike is the great genial sorcerer of American letters [and] The Witches of Eastwick [one of his] most ambitious works. . . . [A] comedy of the blackest sort.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“A great deal of fun to read . . . fresh, constantly entertaining . . . John Updike [is] a wizard of language and observation.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
 
“Vintage Updike, which is to say among the best fiction we have.”—Newsday
Christopher Lehmann-Haupt
. . .the premise of The Witches of Eastwick is all in fun. But serious fun. Because even if the witches aren't responsible for what's gone wrong with small-town contemporary New England culture, they offer Mr. Updike a metaphor with which he has brought that culture wittily and radiantly to life. -- The New York Times

Meet the Author

John Updike was born in Shillington, Pennsylvania, in 1932. He graduated from Harvard College in 1954 and spent a year in Oxford, England, at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. From 1955 to 1957 he was a member of the staff of The New Yorker. His novels have won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Rosenthal Foundation Award, and the William Dean Howells Medal. In 2007 he received the Gold Medal for Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. John Updike died in January 2009.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
March 18, 1932
Date of Death:
January 27, 2009
Place of Birth:
Shillington, Pennsylvania
Place of Death:
Beverly Farms, MA
Education:
A.B. in English, Harvard University, 1954; also studied at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art in Oxford, England

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The Witches of Eastwick 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A dazzlingly thrilling book packed with steamy sex, mesmerizing beauty, and three voluptuous woman who with their witchcraft create havoc, fun, and comical breakouts. A Great deal of fun to read. Fresh, satanically clever, daring, perceptive and witty. I absolutely loved this book for three reasons. The shocking events paralelling the witches themselves, the bewitching delights that occur at the Van Horn estate, and the horrifying incident with the Devil himself, like acid rain on widlfire. One of the most intelligent books I've ever read. Not only because of the way it was written, but the plot and the terrific author whom thought of this fantasic theme to a hypnotic, and lyrical story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The moment I opened 'The Witches of Eastwick' I fell in love. Updike's tasty language, his uncommon imagery, and his understanding of how women, who happen to be Witches, think...is astonishing. He beautifully captures the underlying currents of living in a New England seaside town, with its shifting tides and changing seasons merging with the mood and purpose of its inhabitants. The dialogue is sharp, accurate and scathing. His characterizations of the three Witches shows he has done his homework. I know that politically correct Wiccans decry the inclusion of nasty spells and wickedness...but let's be real for a moment...This isn't a story about Wicca in it's currently popular idealized form. It's a modern comedy, a battle of the sexes; and the women just happen to be full blooded Witches...not pentacle~wearing flower children. Hexes have been around for centuries, and darling, these women know how to conjure and hex! Updike's depiction of the 'Devil' is laugh out loud funny, ironic, and satirical. Yes, I know, Wiccans and Witches don't believe in the devil, but Christians do, and this is just as much a satire on the church as it is our culture in general...The Devil's speech about evolution was laugh out loud funny. The 'Witches of Eastwick' was pure pleasure to read. I only wish Updike would write about witches more! *** *BB*!
khajduk More than 1 year ago
This book is full of imagery, themes, and characters written for a writer's enjoyment. The main characters are fully developed and a real treat.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Being only 18 years old I was very septic when I was handed this book by my AP Lit teacher. It was a book that we had to read for class. I kept thinking that I didn't want to read this at all and it sounded like it was going to be full of nothing but sexual activities. Well after I started reading it I found my self not wanting to put it down. In fact I finished it before anyone else in the class did. I fell in love with this story and I would recommend this story to anyone. I really enjoyed this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SPOILER ALERT This hexy, sexy novel should only be enjoyed by those that are mature enough to handle and look past the (always-present) sexual topics and situations. This means, at least, age sixteen. One must also realize that this novel is very disturbing the way that is very typical of Mr. John Updike; taking normal commonplace events and portraying them in a gritty, blunt, and disturbing new perspective. The title of the novel says it all; The Witches of Eastwick. Not oly do the three girls Alex, Jane, and Sukie litterally have powers, but they are also, in my opinion, the worst types of people. One does become desensitized to their actions as the novel progresses though. The real shocker came from the ending. The three witches conjure up their perfect husbands and then they leave each others company by moving out of town. Not only will these husbands never last like all of the others, but the only comfort in the world to the witches was each others company; and now they are to abandon their only thing that gave a sense of humanity. These girls are the talk of the town; not for any good things though. Surprisingly, not much buzz is sparked because of the town knowing about the witches powers. I found this very interesting. John Updike created a world not too different from ours in which the citizens are desensitized to "vile" and "heathenous" things such as these whitches powers. There is so much of it that it is becoming commonplace. The ways in which the witches use their powers is in an almost playful manner though. In the story, the girls manage to make a tennis match rather enjoyable with all of their tom-foolery by using their powers to mess up the others girls games. At times, I wished for those abilities because of how appealing they are. All in all, this novel is a horrible novel with a corrupt character lineup and plot, but it really left an impression on me that really got me thinking.