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The Widows of Eastwick

'The Witches of Eastwick' ride again in John Updike's none-too-successful sequel.

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When the three weird sisters from “Macbeth” asked, “When shall we three meet again, in thunder, lightning, or in rain?” it’s probable that they didn’t have an all-inclusive tour of the Great Wall and Yangtze River in mind.

Nonetheless, that’s where The Widows of Eastwick meet up 30 years after killing a woman out of jealousy. “The Witches of Eastwick,” by multiple award-winning author John Updike, was an unpleasant little book that didn’t do well by either its author or feminism. It probably would have fallen out of cultural memory were it not for the (also not very good) movie featuring Jack Nicholson with full-on jack-o’-lantern leer.

When last we saw them, Alexandra was a potter and earth-mother type, sharp-tongued Jane played the cello and neglected her brood of children, and Sukie worked for the local newspaper and had lots of affairs.

Actually, all of the women were indifferent to motherhood. They preferred to stay out all night drinking in Darryl Van Horne’s hot tub.

Then he married a younger woman, and after the witches hexed her, left town with her adolescent brother. (If using a homosexual man as a plot device to punish “unnatural” women strikes you as creepy, well, it was. And Updike revives the technique in the sequel.)


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