The Widows of Eastwick, By John Updike

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The Independent Culture

John Updike's final novel, appropriately enough, proved to be the sequel to his 1984 hit The Witches of Eastwick. In this feisty farewell to a generation of Sixties and Seventies firebrands, he reflects on mortality and the health of middling America.

Now fast approaching 70, the three witches, all now widows, decide to rent a condo in Eastwick for the summer. To their disgust their once "fun hick" neighbourhood has been "homogenized" by "toned-up young mothers" and "namby-pamby" young fathers.

While the women attempt to weave their old magic, they are constantly distracted by the "bleak script" of their own decrepitude and lack of pulling power. Working his own brand of alchemy, the evergreen Updike has something invigorating to say on every page.