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Friday, 16 October 2009

Book Notes No. 27: The Widows of Eastwick, John Updike

Four degrees at 8:30am. Twenty-two degrees at 3pm. Sunshine

No-one who read Updike's 1984 novel The Witches of Eastwick, or, indeed, saw the extremely successful 1987 movie adaptation, can fail to recall his bewitching coven of 1960s belles (played marvellously by Cher, Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer).

His sequel, set more than three decades after the end of the first book, sees the trio older (nay, aged), widowed and looking for answers. They pass their time, as fairly wealthy American widows will, travelling the world, but finding nothing of substance at the Pyramids or on cruise ships, until one of them suggests a return to Eastwick. In this old Rhode Island seaside town they find shadows of former loves, lingering traces of their evil deeds, and people who remember them. And some of those do not wish them well.

Just as the first book saw Updike developing his female characters for the first time in his writing career, so The Widows of Eastwick is notable as a delicate and gently humorous portrayal of womanhood past its prime, of widowhood, of the darkening fears of age and the search for contentment and some sort of resolution.

I loved The Witches of Eastwick when it first arrived on the scene. And being a big fan of Jack Nicholson et al., I loved the movie too. With this sequel, Updike didn't let me down. And I think he won't let you down either.






3 comments:

LadyFi said...

I haven't read either - but must! Sounds like delightful reading.

Alan Burnett said...

Thanks for the informative - and digestible - review. It is one for my holiday book bag.

Caution Flag said...

You always find the best reads!

Friday, 16 October 2009

Book Notes No. 27: The Widows of Eastwick, John Updike

Four degrees at 8:30am. Twenty-two degrees at 3pm. Sunshine

No-one who read Updike's 1984 novel The Witches of Eastwick, or, indeed, saw the extremely successful 1987 movie adaptation, can fail to recall his bewitching coven of 1960s belles (played marvellously by Cher, Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer).

His sequel, set more than three decades after the end of the first book, sees the trio older (nay, aged), widowed and looking for answers. They pass their time, as fairly wealthy American widows will, travelling the world, but finding nothing of substance at the Pyramids or on cruise ships, until one of them suggests a return to Eastwick. In this old Rhode Island seaside town they find shadows of former loves, lingering traces of their evil deeds, and people who remember them. And some of those do not wish them well.

Just as the first book saw Updike developing his female characters for the first time in his writing career, so The Widows of Eastwick is notable as a delicate and gently humorous portrayal of womanhood past its prime, of widowhood, of the darkening fears of age and the search for contentment and some sort of resolution.

I loved The Witches of Eastwick when it first arrived on the scene. And being a big fan of Jack Nicholson et al., I loved the movie too. With this sequel, Updike didn't let me down. And I think he won't let you down either.






3 comments:

LadyFi said...

I haven't read either - but must! Sounds like delightful reading.

Alan Burnett said...

Thanks for the informative - and digestible - review. It is one for my holiday book bag.

Caution Flag said...

You always find the best reads!