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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If I could turn back time - I wouldn't!
this long overdue sequel to John Updike's 'the witches of eastwick' has received not a few bad reviews... but on opening the pages, I felt like I was greeting a long lost trio of friends. Now widowed, Sukie, Lexa and Jane revisit Eastwick 30 years on, where they first gained their powers of witchcraft and met Darryl van Horne. There isn't as much magic, mystery or...
Published on 8 Nov 2008 by J. Turner

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3.0 out of 5 stars Reabable but not enough magic
I picked this book up at the airport as I had just watched the excellent movie with Jack Nicholson amongst others. Its well written and kept my interest but once the last page was turned I felt that it was more a vehicle for the author's musings on old age, or even perhaps his wish to revisit the characters he had created one more time rather than a tale he had to tell...
Published on 22 July 2009 by Elizabeth Taylor


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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Literature's high table, 29 Mar 2012
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This review is from: The Widows of Eastwick (Paperback)
Unless his publishers get him writing from the grave (as has happened to Robert Ludlum!) this will be the last novel we see from John Updike, one of the greatest writers of his generation - maybe the greatest. A sequel (obviously) to THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK, it's a little bit disappointing, but only a little.

Alexandra, Jane and Sukie went their separate ways after their gothic encounter with Darryl Van Horne in Eastwick in the 1970s. Now, thirty-odd years later, all widowed from long second marriages, they rent an apartment together in what was the hot-tub room (scene of many a happy orgy!) in Darryl's mansion, now broken into smaller units. Eastwick is not happy to see them back and one figure from their previous sorcery returns to dispense some rough justice.

These are three wonderful characters, and it's a joy to be back in their company. Unfortunately, it takes Updike 100 pages to get them to Rhode Island (100 pages of mostly 'travelogue': Canada, Egypt, China) and another 100 before the witchcraft - the magic - resumes. The final 100 pages are almost as enjoyable as the first novel was, although the male protagonist is not as charismatic as Darryl (his charisma greatly amplified by Jack Nicholson's performance in the movie version!). There's more sex talk than sex action: two of these dear ladies are now in their 70s, but Sukie, the youngest, is still 'hot to trot'. Not many authors write sex as memorably and as whimsically as Updike.

It's not just Darryl's 'avenger' casting a shadow over our heroines' lives; there's a lot of talk about Death. Perhaps Updike sensed that the Grim Reaper was waiting to pounce on the author. He died in 2009, a year after WIDOWS was published.

A bit slow and short on storyline, The WIDOWS OF EASTWICK is beautifully written: a good book, if not quite a great one. VILLAGES (2004), Updike's third-from-last book, was his last masterpiece - the last of at least a dozen outstanding novels from a truly outstanding chronicler of the morals and mores of 20th-century Middle America.

The EASTWICK books are about witchcraft. You read them at the peril of your immortal soul, supping with the Devil! But to read John Updike is to dine at the high table of literature.

(Reviewer is the author of SHAIKHDOWN)
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The final novel, 8 Feb 2009
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This review is from: The Widows of Eastwick (Hardcover)
How great was Updike? In terms of style he was usually highly accomplished - and on a par with Roth. In terms of substance it could vary. When both were present he was a very substantial novelist. This, his last novel, is short on both. There are flickers of his style but very little substance. But, even these flickers are well worth savouring. I wonder who among America's current crop will succeed in reaching Updike to his knees. There is now only Roth left. And that, folks, is that.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Average, 4 Dec 2009
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H. Blythe "HDB" (Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Widows of Eastwick (Paperback)
Love the film, and was really looking forward to this but I was left feeling flat. Nothing really happened, lots of little interesting stories and seeing where the characters had been since the film left off but I was left feeling so what? The test is always will I lend this book to my friends and I would struggle to recommend it.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What happened to Magic?, 11 Sep 2009
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C. N. SILVA "Bookworm" (Oporto, Portugal) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Widows of Eastwick (Paperback)
The Widows of Eastwick was, if I had to say so myself, disapointing to me. Indeed, it is "Spellbinding", as The Observer points out. However, I felt like the author put too much of himself on that particular book. I love all the novels that have a little bit of the author, but too much of something can be a rather let-down. Actually, when Alexandra was describing the visits to Canada, China and Egypt, I had the slight impression that it was John Updike who was the character of the story, not Alexandra. Maybe he planned to share his views of these beloved countries with us, but, for me, it seemed a travel guide written by the author.

However, there are also many positive aspects about this novel, for instance, the rich prose he uses and the words he had chosen. The character's dialogues are unique and Lexa, Jane and Sukie have their own way of viewing the life they had and the world they are living in now. I really enjoyed the fact that, despite being so different, the three of them have a stable friendship. That image really covers the philosophy that, although we are so diffent among ourselves, our hearts beat as one. There is also one particular thing I utterly loved: I've never seen fantasy and reality come together in such a distinct way John Updike did. There are distinct traces of the real world we live in mixed up with dribs and drabs of fantasy.

Summing up, The widows of Eastwick is, in my point of view, a good novel to free our busy minds from our daily routine. I used to read it inside a coffee shop with a Latte next to me. Every now and then, I would let out a laugh and the other costumer would look back to me! It is worth reading. I gave two stars because, from the first page, I instinctly new that this 308-page novel would be an excuse for the author to say goodbye to his beloved characters once and for all. My instincts did indeed prove to be right!

Enjoy your reading! I'd recomend it to you if you are interested.
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The Widows of Eastwick by John Updike
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