The Widows of Eastwick (Magill's Literary Annual 2009)
A sequel by its nature invites comparison with its predecessor, and John Updike’s The Widows of Eastwick is no exception. The novel picks up the stories of the three principal characters Updike first created in his 1984 best seller The Witches of Eastwick, a mixture of graphic realism and magical fantasy set during the early 1970’s in a socially conservative Rhode Island seaside community. In that novel Alexandra Spofford, Jane Smart, and Sukie Rougemont, all in their thirties, seem to possess the ability to perform black magic. When they come under the spell of the mysterious Darryl Van Horne, a stranger recently relocated to Eastwick, they begin engaging in a series of sexual orgies and rites of black magic that wreak havoc on people who cross their paths. This tale of powerful women, published when discussions of feminism and women’s roles in society were still center stage in the American consciousness, was widely popular at the time of its publicationalthough it was heavily criticized by many ardent feminists for treating serious women’s issues with a certain sense of patronizing smugness. Additionally, millions who never read the book became familiar with the story through the 1987 film adaptation starring a trio of screen celebritiesCher, Susan Sarandon, and Michelle Pfeifferas the witches, and legendary film star Jack Nicholson as Van Horne.
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2009)
Booklist 104, no. 22 (August 1, 2008): 8.
Commonweal 135, no. 22 (December 19, 2008): 20-21.
Kirkus Reviews 76, no. 16 (August 15, 2008): 15.
Library Journal 133, no. 14 (September 1, 2008): 123.
The New York Times Book Review, October 26, 2008, p. 1.
Publishers Weekly 255, no. 30 (July 28, 2008): 48.
The Spectator 308 (November 1, 2008): 46-47.
The Times Literary Supplement, October 31, 2008, p. 19.
The Washington Post Book World, October 26-November 1, 2008, p. 7.
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