Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Widows of Eastwick, The Witches of the Blogosphere

I just picked up my November issue of Reader's Digest and read a great interview with "The Scribe of Suburbia" -- John Updike, who at age 76 just completed his new novel, The Widows of Eastwick. It's a sequel his 1984 bestseller, The Witches of Eastwick, which was made into a fun movie starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Susan Sarandon, Cher and Jack Nicholson. The Widows of Eastwick picks up with the same intriguing trio of witches, several decades older now but at no loss for fresh challenges.

The following negative review from Publishers Weekly still has me mesmerized by Updike's Witches/Widows: "Motivated by advancing age, loneliness, latent guilt and a sense of unfinished business, the erstwhile Witches of Eastwick return to their former Rhode Island coastal town in this tepid sequel to the 1984 novel. Alexandra, the fleshy Earth Mother; Jane, the wasp-tongued snob; and Sukie, a would-be sexpot operating beyond her expiration date, have each survived the second marriages that took place following their flight from Eastwick in the early '70s, after a rival, Jenny Gabriel, died as a result of their spell. Where before they were strong, sassy, lusty and empowered, now in late middle-age they are vulnerable, fearful and in thrall to their aging bodies. Witchcraft is now beyond them; when they try to resurrect their supernatural powers to atone for their guilt, an inadvertent death ensues. While Updike remains amazingly capable of capturing women's thoughts about their bodies and their sex lives, the plot never gains momentum; the first hundred pages, in fact, are tedious travelogues covering the widows' travels to Egypt and China. Updike's observations about culture and social disharmony flash with their customary brilliance—a less than sparkling Updike novel is still an Updike novel."

In both "Witches" and "Widows," the leading ladies have magical powers and men are helpless to resist them. I'm excited to see how the three witches have changed over the past 25 years. As Updike shared in his Reader's Digest interview, "One way to deal with being elderly as a writer is to make your characters elderly, so I aged the witches and had them return to the place of their prime. It was fun to write."

Updike's sequel definitely made it to the top of Roxy's Christmas Wish List and got me thinking about all of the witches I run into when making my way around the blogosphere via EntreCard or BlogExplosion. One of the charming elements of the Witches of Eastwick movie back in the late 80s was the notion that there were beautiful witches living quietly among us in suburbia, coming up with spells to solve problems in daily lives. From what I've found in the blogosphere, John Updike was onto something, and there really are witches among us. Check out a few of my favorite Witches of the Blogosphere:

Pandora's Casket: From working on Ebay to pagan issues and raising a family in a small town, one never knows what they will find here.

Modern Witchcraft School: Tips, hints and other fun and thought provoking articles for students and general viewers to gain more insightful knowledge on what "we" are really about.

The Simple Witch: a monthly print publication (since 2006) relating to Wicca, Paganism, Spiritualism and other New Age beliefs.

Stir the Cauldron: Lady Rose and Mama Kelly (best friends, wiccan, and Reiki practitioners) share their collection and knowledge -- including tarot basics and how tos, facts, trivia and fun, with a touch of magic, and related topics such as spirit guides, spirituality, Reiki, divination, Wicca, and the paranormal.

Now, as far as I know, I've never met a witch in person. Since our family moved out from Manhattan's West Village to the Roxiticus Valley (Mendham, Bernardsville, Chester, Randolph, Far Hills, Morris and Somerset Counties), NJ, I've wondered if I might run into a witch here in suburbia. Perhaps she would stand out from the crowd on Halloween as we met our neighbors trick-or-treating? Or, instead of inviting the Westmont Montessori moms over for a tupperware, jewelry, or lingerie party, a witch might have a more creative theme night at her place?

How 'bout it, loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives readers... Are you a witch? Have you ever met one? Am I living in the wrong neighborhood for witchcraft? How will I know if I do run into a witch or two in suburbia?


Mariuca said...

ALAKAZAM! How are you today Roxy?

Mariuca said...

I slept late, got up late, had some lunch, slept again and got up late again!!! Does this mean I'm ready for a BOTB or what? He he! ;)

Mariuca said...

BOO! I'm back to vote Roxy! I am on one too, that's if someone decides to take up my BOTB he he! ;)

Mariuca said...

I saw ur comment Roxy and just to let u know that I received all ur comments yest. You left 3 at MPG and another 3 (at 2 diff posts) over at Mariuca, so worry not, they're all there safe and sound he he! :):):)

Matthew S. Urdan said...

I'm not a witch, but I loved the movie: The Witches of Eastwick. If you'd like to see an update...Rent Witches of Eastwick and then rent Stardust. You'll see Michelle Pfeiffer transform from helpless and vulnerable and beautiful in Witches to completely in command and old and wicked in Stardust. And in the process, she'll even don the Black Cape she used in Ladyhawke--the imagery there is striking.

Michelle Pfeiffer is emerging, 25 years later, as a much more powerful and confident actress with tremendous nuance and gravitas--far beyond what she achieved a quarter century ago when she was at the top of everyone's A-list.

Cher, Susan Sarandon and Jack Nicholson? Not so much.


Mariuca said...

Roxy!! I lost I lost! So I quickly joined another one ha ha ha! :)

Also here to vote vote vote, good luck sweetie! :)

Spicybugz said...

I've been called a witch a few times in my life, but I don't think they meant the spell casting kind.

LadyJava said...

vote vote vote!!!

Steve said...

I would love them to do a movie of this if hit sells. I never read the book, but loved the movie. I never like Nicholson 'til I saw this movie, and that turned it all around for me. They might have to CGI in a new younger Nicholson, or come out with a logical reason why the devil appears older.... it's got potential.