Monday, December 10, 2012

The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike

The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike
1996, Random House Trade Paperbacks
Series: Book 1 of Eastwick

Synopsis: 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 divorcĂ©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.

Why read: Considered a classic witch book and I really liked the movie.

What impressed me: It led to the creation of a great movie. It probably pushed the comfort level of many readers in the early 1980s.

What disappointed me: I watched the movie first. And the TV, now that I think of it. And I enjoyed both of those versions of the story better than the actual book. I went in with many preconceived notions (my own fault) but the book should have surpassed them and didn't. It read a little more "literary" than I was looking for, and was so focused on the bisexuality angle that it seemed to gloss over the actual witchcraft in favor of the women's "tub play."

Recommended: Kinda. If you haven't seen the movie, then definitely.

Continue series: Yes, but only because Widows of Eastwick won't have been tainted by my seeing a superior movie version.

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