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The Witches of Eastwick (Eastwick #1)

3.29  ·  Rating Details ·  12,409 Ratings  ·  961 Reviews
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 divorcées 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. ...more
Hardcover, 307 pages
Published April 12th 1984 by Alfred A. Knopf (first published 1984)
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(showing 1-30)
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Nov 10, 2008 Ellen rated it did not like it
I'm suprised by all the reviews of this book that speak of Updike's ability to "get" and fully understand women ... because that seemed to me to be the most blatantly lacking part of this novel. There is not one redeemable female character in this novel. All of the women are vapid, vacuous and more often than not cruel, indifferent and self-absorbed.

I am not being prudish, I'm not suggesting that every female character should be a paradigm of female virtue - but what is Updike saying about wome
Karly *The Vampire Ninja, Luminescent Monster & Wendigo Nerd Goddess of Canada (according to The Hulk)*

U, is for Updike.

1 I would like to go back and never purchase this Star

It’s not you it’s me! You know what?! It IS you, it is 100% YOU, Updike!! This book is AWFUL!!

There are so many attempts to make this book edgy that it came off entirely underwhelming. I mean, it took me over 2 months just to finish it for fuck’s sake! A 300 page novel… two months?! That is actually unheard of, for me!! I found every reason under the sun (of which there has been lots these last two months) to not read this

I read this book the way it ought to be read, or at least in the circumstances which are best suited for it.

I was away at a beach house for a weekend in the middle of summer and had pretty much nothing to do but lollygag around, smoke cigarettes, and read this book.

It's perfect for sunny clear skies and long hours drinking lemonade by the ocean.

The writing is crisp, quick and clear. Updike's pretty much encyclopedic when it comes to writing skills and he's doing everything pretty smoothly here:
Jul 29, 2009 Lori rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
High Hopes will almost always set a reader up for a fall. The excitement of chosing a book, THIS book, to begin my month... Witches and spells to celebrate the Halloween spirit of October.

Having never seen the film, or read any Updike novels before, I really did not know what to expect. I only knew that I expected great things. And sadly, this novel did not deliver many great things at all.

A little over two weeks spent trying to get into a novel that is only 306 pages long. That's an
Apr 30, 2013 Tani rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, male-author, 2013
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 01, 2009 Celery rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I must confess that I was hoping that this book would be a light/fluffy/fun read. I really loved the movie and was looking forward to some light hearted revenge to ease the aching in my brain. Unfortunately for me and my brain, the only things from this book that made it into the movie were the three witches, the horrible rich man (wasn't Jack Nicholson just perfect in this role...totally disgusting but still gotta love him), and the game of tennis. Okay, maybe some other stuff too, b ...more
Artemis Slipknot
Είχα υψηλότερες προσδοκίες από αυτό το βιβλίο! Δεν έχει κάτι ιδιαίτερο, ούτε κάτι σκοτεινό, ούτε ιδιαίτερη μαγεία. Ένα πολύ χλιαρό βιβλίο.
Luís C.
It tells us a slice of life of three divorced mothers who grow their emancipation (which often looks like carelessness) in their small hometown of Rhode Island and the milestones that occur within it. We are in the era of the Vietnam War, the mood and mindset which then prevailed in America. A mysterious eccentric who settled nearby just messing up their lives. Oh, these 3 women practice witchcraft. This is something very present throughout the novel. Nevertheless, I would characterize the conte ...more
Dec 28, 2014 Anna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book because of a few great quotes I'd heard from it. I wasn't disappointed on that front: the prose was beautiful and intelligent.
However, the actual story was not. As so many people have said, this book reads like an old man trying to write a feminist book. While I love the idea of women being empowered by their bodies, the descriptions of this were sometimes cringeworthy - period cramps were exaggerated hugely, and the ability to give birth was portrayed as the be-all end-all
Dec 10, 2007 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book. Not only does John Updike write heavenly prose, but this book is quite the feminist manifesto. Jane, Sukie, and Alexandra are created by Updike with care and attention, and they are fun, well-drawn personalities to spend a little time with. Updike uses the natural setting of Eastwick, Rhode Island to great advantage. If you feel like getting away to one of those small hamlets on the eastern seaboard, watching a storm come in from the sea, this is the book that will take you the ...more
May 05, 2009 emily rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
this is a book in which characters look in the mirror to see how good-looking they are (particularly to admire their voluptuous breasts, or the breasts of their friends). it is also a book in which john updike tries to write feminist characters but succeeds only in building up a group of women who hate each other, who hate their children, who hate other women, and who are idly superior to the men.

Jenny (Reading Envy)
I first picked this book up on one of my book speed-dating projects, and went back to it when I needed something to read before falling asleep. For John Updike, this really is quite fluffy. That's a good thing because I've abandoned Rabbit, Run at least twice - I just hate the characters so much that I can't even go along with the author on the journey.

I'm not really sure whose side to take on this book, because I have read that this was Updike's response to complaints of misogyny in his Rabbit
May 23, 2011 Almeta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having seen the movie first, the cast of characters was already set in my mind. I could not envision them in any other way. This didn't really get in the way, but some of the differences in premise and plot did disappoint.

(view spoiler)
SoManyBooks SoLittleTime (Aven Shore)
I was so young when I read this. I thought it was very strange at the time. But much of it stuck with me, including the mental images of Cher and Jack Nicholson, despite never seeing the movie!
Amanda L
Initially I was extremely impressed with how well Updike crafted at least two of the three female leads. He seemed to be very in touch with female concerns and sensibilities and the characters, even though at times annoying, were on the whole quite likable because they felt very real.

These characters could only carry the story so far, however. Aside from the fact that their sensibilities became increasingly reminiscent of those we might expect men to impose on them, the story itself was really s
Oct 11, 2013 Alissa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three witches, what's going through their heads, gossip and how they handle the new man in town, that's pretty ,much the plot. While I can't say I loved the story, the description, details and generally the way Updike wrote it was impressive.

"Driving home in her Subaru, whose interior smelled of dog, she saw the full moon with its blotchy mournful face in the top of her tinted windshield and irrationally thought for a second that astronauts had landed and in an act of imperial atrocity had spra
Roderick Vincent
A big disappointment after reading Terrorist. InTerrorist, Updike had such a firm grip on his characters, whereas here, I felt they fell through his fingers. The Witches of Eastwick proves that good writing doesn't necessarily equal good story. While some of the scenes were well done in terms of witchcraft (Alexandra on the beach conjuring up a storm), opportunities were squandered. Instead of pursuing the art of witchcraft and all sorts of potential conflicts with the characters, half of the ti ...more
Karin Bengtsson
Nov 05, 2015 Karin Bengtsson rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ej läst klart. Språket är mer än en etta men boken är så förbannat kvinnohatande så att jag inte stod ut längre. Herregud.

"It was fundamental and instinctive, it was womanly, to want to heal - to appeal the poultice of acquiescent flesh to the wound of a mans desire, to gice his closeted spirit the exaltation of seein a witch slíp out of her clothes [...]"

Nej, Updike, kvinnor har ingen grundläggande instinkt att tröstknulla män. Det är dina jävla gubbsjuka fantasier.

Hade bokens huvudperson var
I really enjoyed the writing in this book, but as a whole it left me feeling kind of unsettled and ambiguous. I think what ultimately bothered me was the way that the witches, who had been hurt by men, seemed to spend all their time using magic against other women. That was probably the point, but it's sort of one of those things that's been pointed out so often that I've ceased to find it very compelling or clever. I'd be interested in other peoples' thoughts on this book, though.
Amanda Lyons
Jan 09, 2014 Amanda Lyons rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As many people know from the movie, this is a book about three witches in a small town and what happens when a mysterious and inexplicably (largely because he's clearly a bit of a jackass) charming man comes to town. Each of them is a different woman, one mother goddess artist, one a dissatisfied but passionate musician, and the other a light-hearted fluffy soul who has a gossip column at the local paper. Mostly with this plot we're seeing what would happen if the divorced ladies of town found ...more
Lina K
Jun 26, 2012 Lina K rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have just finished watching the last episode of short lived tv series "Eastwick" and it made me wonder about the ideas that the story explores.

I found some interesting reviews on this site and it brought back the memory of this book. I believe I read it a couple of years ago - I still remember how disappointing it was... In some way I could compare it to The Vanity Fair which I really didn't like - I am not sure I was able to even finish it (or maybe it was so disappointing that I don't even r
Apr 09, 2009 Jill rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kylin Larsson
Mar 18, 2008 Kylin Larsson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Witches of Eastwick feels like John Updike's reaction to the phenomenon of feminism. The classic witchy features of the three divorced women felt familiar from other stories and films. The three witches unstick themselves from small town drudgery when a warlock (or demon) in the guise of Daryl Van Horne buys an old residence on the outskirts of town. I was sometimes conscious of a forced feeling to the writing, a sense of trying too hard and stumbling. That writing possesses a haunting rhyth ...more
Eric Chappell
Jan 25, 2012 Eric Chappell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read Summer 2010; Re-read January 2011

Summary: Wickedly entertaining. The Witches of Eastwick is about three divorced women in the New England town of Eastwick who discover that after being abandoned or divorced from their husbands, they have supernatural powers. Alexandra Spoffard, the sculptress, is the leader of the three. She makes little clay figurines (called "bubbies"), stores too much tomato sauce, and is carrying on an affair with Joe Marino, the town plumber. Jane Smart, the cellist, i
Carolina Dean
Jun 08, 2011 Carolina Dean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Witches of Eastwick is another example of a great book being turned into a less than stellar movie. If you’re familiar with the movie, there’s a lot in this book that you’ll find familiar as well. Unlike the movie which was set in the late 1980’s, the book takes place in the fictional town of Eastwick, Rhode Island at the time of the Vietnam War. The story mainly concerns Alexandra, an artist; Jane, a cellist; and Sukie, a columnist. They are in the primes of their lives, each having either ...more
I read Witches of Eastwick because it's said at the back cover that my favorite author Haruki Murakami likes John Updike's novels as well. So I gave it a shoot.

I must confess, Mr. Updike's subject matter (daily affairs of a bunch of middle class women in a quiet island community) and his writing style is not my favorite type. Still I found Witches of Eastwick riches with clever writing, and it's no feel-good chick-lit; those Witches of Eastwick are no harmless and likable creatures. I'm both sur
A 2.5 really...

I was already really familiar with the film adaptation when I picked this up looking for a campy and fun pre-Halloween read, only to find myself somewhat disappointed at the very different tone of the book (not the only way in which this differs from the film, which also seems to have cast the lead actresses in the wrong roles as well as being in possession of a far more charismatic Darryl Van Horne than the one written). Usually I'm a book-first kind of girl, and I did admittedly
Apr 09, 2009 Krista rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I just finished this as part of an online book club. The idea was to read something spooky heading into Halloween but I got a late start and finished by Christmas. I barely recognized the movie with Jack Nicholson, but he was a good choice for the part. I had never read an Updike novel before and have decided I'm not a fan. The first half of the book he definitely works too hard at being clever with his descriptions. The second half was more relaxed, not trying to impress the reader as much with ...more
Feb 13, 2009 Joe rated it it was ok
The first 100 pages were insanely hard to get through. Honestly I kept falling asleep and I was reading this book in public in the middle of the day. The middle section was much more engaging but built towards a big "meh" of an ending. Much like in the last book I read, the philosophical ideas put forth in this book were much more interesting than the story itself.

This was another book that suffered from protagonists that were utterly unlikeable and unrelatable. Also, logistically, the way the w
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John Hoyer Updike was an American writer. Updike's most famous work is his Rabbit series (Rabbit, Run; Rabbit Redux; Rabbit Is Rich; Rabbit At Rest; and Rabbit Remembered). Rabbit is Rich and Rabbit at Rest both won Pulitzer Prizes for Updike. Describing his subject as "the American small town, Protestant middle class," Updike is well known for his careful craftsmanship and prolific writing, havin ...more
More about John Updike...

Other Books in the Series

Eastwick (2 books)
  • The Widows of Eastwick (Eastwick #2)

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