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The Widows of Eastwick

(Eastwick #2)

2.96  ·  Rating details ·  2,005 ratings  ·  336 reviews
More than three decades have passed since the events described in John Updike’s The Witches of Eastwick. The three divorcées—Alexandra, Jane, and Sukie—have left town, remarried, and become widows. They cope with their grief and solitude as widows do: they travel the world, to such foreign lands as Canada, Egypt, and China, and renew old acquaintance. Why not, Sukie and Ja ...more
Hardcover, 308 pages
Published October 21st 2008 by Knopf
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Average rating 2.96  · 
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Apr 01, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015
Updike's apparent fascination with possible body odor emanating from his characters' nether regions was enough to make me feel a little queasy. After one particularly odd scene of an old lady's behind in someone's face that may or may not have stunk, I slammed the book shut and stared at Updike's picture in despair. Why, oh why did you have to make me read that, John? What did I ever do to you?

So I took a deep breath, composed myself and plunged through the book as quickly as possible, secretly
It's a solid 'What a delightful book!' 4.5 stars.

I wonder why this book only gets 2.9 stars from Goodread.

After the messy events in The Witches of Eastwick, the three witches: Alex, Jane and Sukie were more or less forced to leave town. Now 30 years later, the three women had already aged and widowed, so they decided to travel around the world and then went back to Eastwick to spend a summer there. But after going back to Eastwick, they soon realized after so many years, not everyone in the sma
Nov 15, 2009 rated it did not like it
So when I clicked the "read" option to bookshelf this poor excuse of a novel, I ending up wishing there was an option saying, "I gave up on this piece of shit nearly 95 pages into it because it was an even MORE watered-down version of Updike's alleged 'feminism' found in The Witches of Eastwick."

I wanted to give this guy the benefit of the doubt, hoping that perhaps after 25 years he might have evolved past the Silent Generation's warped social views, and maybe even better redeemed the horrible
Marius van Blerck
May 24, 2010 rated it it was ok
This week has not been a good one for my book choices, This is the second of three false starts. I simply could not get into this book. Just too twee.
Feb 20, 2010 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Updike fans, Eastwick fans
Having read the first book (and seen the movie), I'm disappointed in this sequel. Putting aside my feelings on the characters and their adventures in the first novel, this book on its own has a very weak "plot" and a poor structure.

Once upon a time, Alex, Jane and Sukie were best friends living in a small town in Rhode Island, dabbling both in sorcery and seduction of their neighbours. Thirty years on, they have gone their separate ways, found love and subsequently lost it, which leads to their
Todd Carney
Jun 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I discovered that Updike had written a sequel to "The Witches of Eastwick" one day while I was at the library, reading the original book, which frustrated me, as did its movie adaptation. As I write this, all of the movie's cast are still alive, so when I checked out the book's sequel, I had this notion that the book would have me imagine a sequel to the movie that could still be made. But the original Eastwick novel and movie are so different and end so vastly differently, that this sequel woul ...more
Jul 12, 2011 rated it liked it
This got abysmal reviews when it was first published, but when I saw a hardcover copy for $5 at my local independent bookstore (Taylor Books) I snapped it up (tangent: when I got it home I noticed it has what appears to be the small box with numbers on the back of the dust jacket, which usually means a book club do those get to stores? Remaindered? Something else?).

Anyway, enjoyed it more than I thought I might, given those reviews. I LOVED The Witches of Eastwick and generally enjo
Nov 28, 2008 is currently reading it
I've got 50 pages to go. It's better than most of reviews it received gave it credit for ... but it's not nearly as good as "The Witches of Eastwick" - the original appearance of these 3 ladies. I am always compelled to read the "new Updike" (as I am "the new Roth"), and I've noticed in his last few novels he has developed a penchant to referencing his characters' (who are mostly aging, as he is) body odors. The widows are all three of them obsessed at times with how they smell and how they thin ...more
Jul 22, 2014 rated it liked it
I first read the Witches of Eastwick back in the year 1984. This is the follow up book to that. The 3 witches EVENTUALLY get back together and travel to Eastwick for the summer.

The witches are Jane (serious, mean, cello player who marries into a rich New England Nathaniel Hawthorne sort of family), Sukie (an attractive redhead who worked for the town paper and was into the town business in more ways than one) and the third I can't recall, but she is the fat pretty brunette who neglects her kids
Oct 24, 2014 rated it liked it

Book Description
Publication Date: October 14, 2008
More than three decades after the events described in The Witches of Eastwick, Alexandra, Jane, and Sukie—widowed, aging, and with their occult powers fading—return for the summer to the Rhode Island town where they once made piquant scandal and sometimes deadly mischief. But what was then a center of license and liberation is now a “haven of wholesomeness” populated by hockey moms and househusbands primly rebelling against thei
Stephen Durrant
Dec 07, 2008 rated it it was ok
The witches of Eastwick thirty years later, now widowed, on the other side of second marriages, far away from sex and witchery, reunite first in world travel and then back in Eastwick itself. Once in Eastwick, they discover that certain echoes from their earlier mischief live on and eventually entice them to return to witchcraft and, in Sukie's case, sex. But somehow this book never quite rang true to me. Much of the travelogue was well-written but seemed here to be filler (gotta get 300 pages!) ...more
Dec 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is really a 3.75, but I like Updike enough to give him the full 4 stars. I read this in about 2 days (while I should have been studying.)

I think _Widows_ illustrates some of what is so compelling--and so dirty--about Updike. To a younger reader, there's a certain horror in learning how little the widows care for their children, how disposable their husbands were, and how attached they are to both husbands and children nonetheless. Is this what aging is like?

There's a wonderful olfactory qua
Mar 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
OK, it's not as brilliant and tight as the first book, but I take exception to all the rather tiresome reviews going on and on about what a sexist Updike was, how much he loathed women, etc. - bullshit: he was a gimlet-eyed misanthrope, but not particularly meanspirited about it: EVERYone gets skewered at some level, but most everyone also has well-sketched human qualities. The characters seema as real and well-limned as ever - the man was a keen observer of human motivation and interior life as ...more
Sep 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
This story was interesting enough, but not quite a good as Witches of Eastwick. The beginning rambled on about foreign trips some of the witches took alone, and with each other. It was quite a wait till we got to Eastwick again.

It was nice to have them reunited in town and shown all the changes that happened over the years but there wasn't much magic, unlike the previous book.

However, all this being said, I really enjoyed the story. The personalities of all the women were all quite different,
Dec 02, 2008 rated it it was ok
The Witches of Eastwick was one of my favorite guilty pleasures of the eighties, but this years-removed sequel just doesn't measure up. The Widows, now thirty years older, attempt to reunite beneath the cone of power they had used to upend Eastwick in their youth, but it just never comes together for me. At times the writing is great, especially as the widows tour the world together, but at other times it drags. Maybe witchcraft is best left in the hands of the young. ...more
Jan 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
It's a sequel to my least favorite Updike novel. But I liked it so much better than the first Eastwick book. A beautiful meditation on aging, and, oh those wonderful Updikean sentences! ...more
J.D. Frailey
Jun 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: john-updike
I see this book gets an average rating of 2.95 stars, the lowest of any book I’ve read. I get it, nothing much happens for the first half of the book except catching up on the lives of the three witches in the 30 years since we met them. I’m giving it 4 stars because Updike’s writing (this was his last book), his descriptions of people and scenery and emotion are so incredibly well done, so subtle and nuanced, reading him is like watching highlight clips of Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods or Seren ...more
May 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
The sex positive witches get back together, this time withered, more cutting and less interesting. That also describes Updike's writing. Unlike the Witches of Eastwick, this is insipid, not particularly playful and the language is not particularly beautiful. It was just a ploddingness that brooded over something which might be called a story.

Made it 20% of the way through.
Jan 14, 2009 rated it liked it
First of all let me say, I never read the first book, although I did see the movie. This book is nothing like the movie, but then again, I have heard the first book is nothing like the movie either. In my mind, I kept seeing the actresses (Cher, Susan Serandon, and Michelle Pfeiffer.) As much as I enjoyed the writing, it took a while to get into, as it sometimes had long sentences, and even longer paragraphs. Once I picked up the flow, it wasn’t too bad. I found it to be well researched, but som ...more
Alice Osborn
Jun 22, 2009 rated it it was ok
The Widows of Eastwick is John Updike's last published book (he died January 27th, 2009 of lung cancer)and just because it was his last book, that in itself is worth the read. I love Updike's short story, "A&P" but haven't had the pleaure of reading any of his novels -- "Widows" was my first foray into Updikeland. I enjoyed his tangents about aging, loss and decreptitude. These are all surely issues that were on his mind as he was sick with lung cancer. The book, however, is mostly a self-indulg ...more
May 03, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: womens-issues
"How quickly, Alexandra thought, they had slipped back into being a trio, a trinity coming together to form a cone of power. It was not that she like the other two women better than her leathery, bohemian, long-haired, jeans-clad female friends in Taos - comparatively, Sukie and Jane had narrow, Northeastern horizons - but in their company she felt more powerful, more deeply appreciated, more positively enjoyed. They had known her at the height of her desirability, in a society that, isolated fr ...more
Giddy Girlie
Aug 15, 2012 rated it did not like it
Just re-read Witches and was excited to keep it going with Widows, but no. Updike's writing drags in a lot of places and honestly this book felt like an old man's fist-shaking "get those kids off my lawn" diatribe but filtered through familiar characters. The theme of getting older and losing your sense of the world is valid but the writing is so slow and whiny that it's hard to get into it.

Besides the slow pace, the extra babbling descriptors make the conversation so stilted that there have to
Henry Mishkoff
This is like two books in one.

In the first half of the book, nothing happens, it's all character re-development using the device of a series of travelogues. It's like reading "What I Did on My Last Three Summer Vacations," by John Updike. Elegantly written, as you'd expect, but no action whatsoever.

The second half of the book is completely different, as the widows return to Eastwick, only to learn how much it, and they, have changed. But traces of witchiness remain, and even as benign as Eastwic
May 08, 2009 rated it did not like it
This book was not very good at all and reminded me of why I never read more than one of his other books. It didn't seem like he had much to say so he had to fill in with a travelogue, physics lessons, gratuitous sex, and even a pathetic bodice ripper. It gets my goat when men presume to write from the perspective of women (a notable exception being the author of The Last Living Confederate War Widow Tells All). He did not hit the right notes to make the characters come alive and I didn't like an ...more
Dec 16, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
I'll repeat my review of "Witches of Eastwick", because I felt about the same:

Updike's voice is there, his excellent writing, the wit, but this one didn't grab me as some of his other, more personal dramas have. Maybe I didn't like the writing for a cast instead of an individual. Maybe it is just that the witches seemed pretty much one note, and not one that I can identify with.

This one felt a bit odd and I didn't much like it until the end. I liked the "humanity" of the ending, although I didn
Jan 21, 2009 rated it did not like it
I had to relegate this book to the dark, Pit of Despair. Reading Updike is hard. Sentences go on for pages, thoughts could last entire volumes. I know he was one of the Great American Writers. I don't dispute that. I just didn't like this book. The first one was okay, and I forged through. But I've decided that life is too short for bad fiction and now I am not feeling so badly about not finishing books. The POD is getting bigger all the time! ...more
Michael Finocchiaro
Not exactly Updike's masterpiece, The Widows of Eastwick is an enjoyable sequel to its famous predecessor and I admit it was delightful to spend time with Suki, Alex, and Jane again. Keeping with my no spoilers policy, I will not go any further into the plot except to say that if you enjoyed Witches of Eastwick, this is a nice coda to that story. ...more
Jul 11, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paranormal, fiction
Updike revisits his heroines from The Witches of Eastwick bringing them 30 years into the present. It took me about 100 pages to get into this book but even then it was still only okay. I doubt I'll read anything else by this author ...more
Jan 06, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: series, fiction
Enjoyable, and although I appreciated the perspective on aging, it rang a bit false. Perhaps I'm just disgruntled because he makes the female aging process sound so depressing. ...more
Bob Ryan
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
I never really connected with his book. I admit I didn't read the first one. I did see the movie, but that was a long time ago. The book is divided roughly into three parts. The first part find our girls getting together to travel to Egypt and China. That gives the author the opportunity for commentary on those two areas. I'm always suspicious of these kinds of stories, makes me wonder if Updike was trying to justify some tax deductible travel by incorporating it into the book. The second sectio ...more
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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

Other books in the series

Eastwick (2 books)
  • The Witches of Eastwick (Eastwick #1)

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