The Witches of Eastwick, by John Updike

The Witches of EastwickFinished audio 11-8-11, rating 3/5, fiction, pub. 1984

Unabridged audio 12 hours.  Read by Kate Reading.

Alexandra, Sukie, and Jane are witches who don’t have the best reputations around their small Rhode Island town.  Alexandra is the one who harnesses the most power but she is also the one who can’t get over the feeling that she has cancer growing in her.  When the rich Darryl Van Horne moves into a mansion, the three women become fixtures there, on his tennis court and in his hot tub.  The four of them enjoy a special physical relationship, each woman thinking that she holds Van Horne’s affection.  When another woman steps into the hot tub the witches decide a hex is needed.

The three women weren’t all that likeable.  They killed pets who annoyed them, were terrible, absent mothers, were fine with sleeping with married men, and they weren’t even great friends to each other, even though they had no one else.

As I listened to this in the car I felt like I needed to tell Gage to cover his ears in a few parts!  The women’s physical relationship felt icky to me and I do think it’s because I pictured Updike in his office typing the scenes and it felt like I was looking into his fantasy or something.  I know this is my own prejudice and maybe I wouldn’t have had the same reaction if I’d been reading it.

The writing was excellent, but I just didn’t like the story.  Having said that I am curious about the movie.  I can see it being campy fun, considering the cast, so I’ll have to check it out.

I borrowed the audio from the library.

13 thoughts on “The Witches of Eastwick, by John Updike

  1. Stephanie D. says:

    I saw the movie ages ago and I remember thinking how on earth Jack Nicholson got all these women to agree to such an arrangement. I wonder how the book differs.

  2. JoAnn says:

    I really like Updike’s writing, but didn’t care much for this particular novel. In the Beauty of the Lilies is my favorite. His short stories and essays are great, too.

  3. Bumbles says:

    Updike was a bit obsessed with the sexual side of things – but his writing is terrific. I never read this but did see the movie. The movie seems quite different than the way you describe the plot here. I thought the cast of women was a lot of fun and Jack played despicable perfectly of course.

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