The Witches of Eastwick

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The Witches of Eastwick
Eastwick.jpg
First Edition cover
Author John Updike
Country United States
Language English
Publisher Knopf
Publication date
April 12, 1984
Media type Print (Hardcover and paperback)
Pages 320 pp
ISBN 0-394-53760-2
OCLC 10183130
Dewey Decimal 813/.54 19
LC Class PS3571.P4 W5 1984

The Witches of Eastwick is a 1984 novel by John Updike.

Plot[edit]

The story, set in the fictional Rhode Island town of Eastwick in the late 1960s, follows the witches Alexandra Spofford, Jane Smart, and Sukie Rougemont, who acquired their powers after leaving or being left by their husbands (Alexandra's husband, Ozzie, didn't leave her, he died). Their coven is upset by the arrival of a devil-like character, Darryl Van Horne. The mysterious Darryl seduces each of the women, encouraging them to play with their powers and creating a scandal in the town. The three women share Darryl in relative peace until he unexpectedly marries their young, innocent friend, Jenny, on whom they resolve to have revenge by giving her cancer through their magic. The witches doubt their judgement after Jenny's death when Darryl flees town with her younger brother, Chris, apparently his lover. In his wake he leaves their relationships strained and their sense of self in doubt. Eventually they each summon their ideal men and leave town. The Widows of Eastwick, John Updike's sequel to The Witches of Eastwick, was published by Alfred A. Knopf in October 2008.

Literary significance and criticism[edit]

Updike described his novel as "about female power, a power that patriarchal societies have denied." Many scholars viewed it as strongly pro-feminist, "an intelligent engagement with feminism, and a rare case of a male novelist writing from women's points of view." [1] Some have expressed concern that the book may be misogynistic, as it seems to reinforce the patriarchal conceptions of women as witches and of women requiring a man for personal growth; others believe that the book may be more of a satire of such ideas.[2]

At the same time, there were those who praised the novel as a departure from John Updike's previous novels. [1]

Film, television, and theatrical adaptations[edit]

References[edit]