The Witches of Eastwick
First Edition cover
|April 12, 1984|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover and paperback)|
|LC Class||PS3571.P4 W5 1984|
The Witches of Eastwick is a 1984 novel by John Updike.
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
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."  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.
At the same time, there were those who praised the novel as a departure from John Updike's previous novels. 
Film, television, and theatrical adaptations
- In 1987, the novel was adapted into a film starring Jack Nicholson as Darryl, Cher as Alexandra, Susan Sarandon as Jane, and Michelle Pfeiffer as Sukie. The film's Oscar-nominated score was composed by John Williams.
- In 1992, a television series pilot aired starring Michael Siberry as James, Ally Walker as Alexandra, Julia Campbell as Jane, and Catherine Mary Stewart as Sukie. It was not picked up as a series.
- In 2000, the novel was adapted into a stage musical by John Dempsey and Dana P. Rowe.
- In 2002, a television series pilot was filmed based on the world created in the book, called simply Eastwick. It starred Jason O'Mara as Darryl, Marcia Cross as Jane, Kelly Rutherford as Alexandra, and Lori Loughlin as Sukie. It was not picked up as a series so only the pilot episode exists.
- In 2002, The Witches of Eastwick musical opened in Australia, starring Paul McDermott as Darryl Van Horne, Marina Prior as Jane Smart, Pippa Grandison as Sukie Rougemont and Angela Toohey as Alexandra Spofford.
- In 2007, the stage musical had its American debut at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia.
- In 2009, The Witches of Eastwick was adapted into a television series on ABC, this one entitled Eastwick, with Lindsay Price, Jaime Ray Newman and Rebecca Romijn as the three witches. Paul Gross played Darryl. The show was cancelled during its first season.
- LA Times "Bewitched again by John Updike" September 20, 2009
- Kiera Tara O'Brien. "The witching hour: Halloween chick flicks". Digs Magazine. Retrieved 2007-02-25.
- Jones, Kenneth. "Witches of Eastwick—Skinner, Noll & Donovan—Sing in Revised U.S. Staging of Onetime London Musical". Playbill.com, June 15, 2007
-  tvguide.com