From Publishers Weekly
Three decades after the original release of Updike's The Witches of Eastwick
comes this follow-up featuring the same depressed, divorced and devilish ladies of the original. This time around the women are, naturally, widows who travel the world searching for happiness and ultimately find themselves back in Eastwick. Kate Reading gives a powerful and entertaining performance, capturing the essence of each character with equally driven intensity and passion. The flawless Reading is especially captivating in her role as witch Sukie. Though Updike's writing may not possess the same power that it had in the original, Reading keeps listeners focused on the present and yearning for more in the future. A Knopf hardcover (Reviews, July 28). (Nov.)
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If it weren't for the popular film version (1987), it's not certain that The Witches of Eastwick
—playful rather than powerful like the Rabbit novels and accused by some of misogynist leanings—would have remained as popular as it did. Yet, despite lukewarm reviews, those who enjoyed that first novel may find something to like in this sequel. Widows
resurrects the fun of the original, and Updike is, as usual, a master stylist with sharp, sensual writing. Some critics, however, were thrown off by the contrived premise, the initial aimless travelogue, and the sappy subplots. A few even suggested that Updike doesn't adequately understand women's aging, though the New York Times
argued that the witches are most compellingly understood as ordinary women. In sum, Widows
is a mixed bag, best enjoyed by readers curious to see where Updike's brand of feminism has landed him 25 years later.
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