The Witches of Eastwick

A Novel
Narrated by: Kate Reading
Series: Eastwick, Book 1
Length: 12 hrs and 9 mins
Categories: Fiction, Chick Lit
3.5 out of 5 stars (194 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

“John Updike is the great genial sorcerer of American letters [and] The Witches of Eastwick [is one of his] most ambitious works.... [A] comedy of the blackest sort.” (The New York Times Book Review)

Toward the end of the Vietnam era, in a snug little Rhode Island seacoast town, wonderful powers have descended upon Alexandra, Jane, and Sukie, bewitching divorcées with sudden access to all that is female, fecund, and mysterious. Alexandra, a sculptor, summons thunderstorms; Jane, a cellist, floats on the air; and Sukie, the local gossip columnist, turns milk into cream. 

Their happy little coven takes on new, malignant life when a dark and moneyed stranger, Darryl Van Horne, refurbishes the long-derelict Lenox mansion and invites them in to play. Thenceforth scandal flits through the darkening, crooked streets of Eastwick - and through the even darker fantasies of the town’s collective psyche.

“A great deal of fun to read...fresh, constantly entertaining.... John Updike [is] a wizard of language and observation.” (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

“Vintage Updike, which is to say among the best fiction we have.” (Newsday)

©1996 John Updike; 2008 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“John Updike is the great genial sorcerer of American letters [and] The Witches of Eastwick [one of his] most ambitious works.... [A] comedy of the blackest sort.” (The New York Times Book Review)

“A great deal of fun to read... fresh, constantly entertaining... John Updike [is] a wizard of language and observation.” (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

“Vintage Updike, which is to say among the best fiction we have.” (Newsday)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Bewitched!

This is a brilliant novel by one of the best contemporary writer. It is full of fun, sadness, wisdom, and deep understanding of life's desires.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A Very Unusual And Well Written Novel - Some Parts Out of Sync

This is an unusual novel about some twentieth century women in New England who do have witches capabilities. John Updike is at times very erudite and at other times crude and to me, distasteful.

Sometimes the story is painful. Having said that there is a episode wherein a character preaches in church and it is one of the funniest things that I have ever read.

As far as the audiobook, it is mostly excellent. However, I need to report that as I read and listened simultaneously, there was one point wherein the narration seemed to get pages out of sequence. This is late in the novel and I only noted it one time. I think if I had ONLY listened I would have been temporarily confused.

Thank You....

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Two Thumbs Up!

Wonderful book! Takes a chapter or two to get into it, but stick with it. Completely different than the movie! Kate Reading REALLY makes those characters come alive. Felt like live theater listening to it.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Damn can this man write women.

Every sentence is like he's working a spell. I just stared out the window entranced. I only wish there were more than two. I love that he wrote the sequel 30 years later, in his life and in their lives. Remarkable.

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

horrible! drags on and on.

pure punishment to finish! I can't decide if I want to listen to the sequel that I purchased at the same time.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Kate Reading is the best part

This basically plotless book of gossipy Witches in a Rhode Island town was pretty disappointing. Nothing really happens, and that’s 12 hours of my life I won’t get back.

But if you’re gonna read this, I recommend this audiobook version because Ms. Reading does a marvelous job with the production - seriously one of the best readers I’ve heard!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Dated but still fun

The writing is nice but I can't decide if the author loves or hates women. The racism sprinkled throughout is a sign of the times I guess. I was not terribly enthralled with the read through but overall the narrator did well. Perhaps to have to be of this generation for it to really hold you.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

"Enjoyed" the movie more

The novel is beautifully written with prose and imagery that, to me, provides new ways of looking at nature and fertility. Yet, the story is so languid and dry that it takes forever to get anywhere. This novel is brilliantly written, but I really enjoyed the movie more, although they are really two completely different things.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

How did this thing ever become a best seller?

What would have made The Witches of Eastwick better?

Never to have been written! How did this thing become a best seller? The story is bad and the people in the book are all so nasty and unlikable that you want them all to just die by the end of the book. What was the point of this mess and it is gross about sex and woman.

Has The Witches of Eastwick turned you off from other books in this genre?

I don't know but I do know I will never read anything by John Updike again!

Which scene was your favorite?

They are all so unlikable that there is none.

What character would you cut from The Witches of Eastwick?

All of them!

Any additional comments?

I really was looking forward to this book. I had heard it was nothing like the movie so I did not go into it thinking it would be. However, I have never read a book before that makes you hate every person in it and can also makes you sick with the gross details of the women's monthly and what they do with their fluids. Mr. Updike must hate woman big time to write this book. Good God what did his mother do to him as a kind for him to feel the way he does about woman?

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

I'm not really sure what I was wanting to gain....

....from reading this book.....I had seen the movie years ago and thought it was pretty good and I think Jack Nicholson is the PERFECT Darryl Van Horne....just what you imagine him to be while reading the book. The book...at times....made me feel a bit uncomfortable because of all the wanton sexual escapades between Darryl and the 3 women/witches (Alexandra, Jane, and Sukie. I really like the women when they were struggling with everyday life situations and I loved Sukie and her happy-go-lucky spirit. Jane was just a bit too brash for me to feel any kind of emotion towards her other than a bit of dislike. Alexandra was the typical reminder of how all women seem to be too hard on themselves and worry to much about weight.....illness......looks......children.....etc.

The book was funny in places but it was more of a heavy type read and the ending was really not that happy......I felt a bit sad and disheartened by it and it really wasn't what I thought would be a more light....quirky type of read. I guess I was just expecting more and so therefore I was letdown. Don't get me wrong......the writing style of John Updike is beautiful and so full of description that it is very easy to visualize what he wants you to see.....it just wasn't that amazing book that I was looking for....it was more of an okay book that you are neither happy or sad that you read it.

3 people found this helpful