The Widows of Eastwick
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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 Jane ask Alexandra, go back to Eastwick for the summer? The old Rhode Island seaside town, where they indulged in wicked mischief under the influence of the diabolical Darryl Van Horne, is still magical for them. Now Darryl is gone, and their lovers of the time have aged or died, but enchantment remains in the familiar streets and scenery of the village, where they enjoyed their lusty primes as free and empowered women. And, among the local citizenry, there are still those who remember them, and wish them ill. How they cope with the lingering traces of their evil deeds, the shocks of a mysterious counterspell, and the advancing inroads of old age, form the burden of Updike’s delightful, ominous sequel.
where the three gathered and read and watched television and had their pre-dinner drinks whether they ate dinner out or in. They sometimes reminisced about how they used to erect the cone of power over cocktails, but the rite involved some formal preparation and belonged to vanished times, when they were younger and more engaged in the lives around them, more passionate and more jealous and more persuaded that they could move the material world with sympathetic magic. Their suite held two
the time to read such crap, but I guess they do. Some woman pretty new in town tried to get up a Xeroxed local newsletter when the syndicate that had bought up the Word closed it down, but people didn’t take to it enough for it to pay. Also, you know, pardon my getting personal, what happened concerning the Word when you were still around spooked people a little—gave it a bad name.” How personally was she to take this? “Well, la-di-da,” she said, a response that was both combative and lame. The
lunch hamper, what normal women they were, all of which tends to kill the fantasy.” Sukie cut in, her voice edgy. “And not enrich the fantasy? Make the girl realer?” She shouldn’t keep trying to protect me, Alexandra thought. I can protect myself, if I think it’s worth doing. Christopher seemed dubious. “The guys who watch this stuff on video are pretty simple. They don’t want a ton of reality.” “Do you know a lot of porn actresses?” asked Sukie. “A couple. They’re nicer and more average than
mode. Christopher asked, “How did people ever dance to this stuff?” “You Lindied,” Sukie answered. “You jitterbugged. Shall I show you how?” “No, thanks.” But another classic disk—“now, folks, for a change of pace, a honey-smooth swing number that topped the charts back in 1940, the great Glenn Miller’s ‘In the Mood’!”—was placed on the turntable twenty miles away, on the Connecticut line, and, by the miracle of electromagnetic waves, crackled irresistibly out of the tiny brown radio in
way.” “I know. With us, too. He didn’t like losing control.” “And you do.” “I’m not afraid of it. It’s like dreaming. You can come out the other side, still being you. Hey. You’re ready. Yummy. Let me drink at the fountain of youth.” She tightened all over, knees and feet together, going into a purposeful crouch there on the dank bed. “No,” he said again, in his deeper, more theatrical voice, touching the top of her head. The broad white parting; the soft mussed abundance dyed the