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Updike's 'Witches' Return To Eastwick As 'Widows'

Oct 29, 2008 (Talk of the Nation)

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John Updike's once unstoppable magic sisters return to their former haunts in the sequel to his 1984 novel The Witches of Eastwick. Thirty years have passed, and Alexandra, Jane and Sukie — now The Widows of Eastwick — are back in their seaside Rhode Island town coming to terms with their declining power and sexuality.

"It was nice to be back in their company, even though they had aged 30 years," Updike says, "I, too, had aged 30 years ..."

Updike says the witches presented themselves as "a way to write about old age and aging and losing your powers."

Writing about "ordinary life," Updike says, is a big problem for fiction writers; everyday lives do not involve heroism or extraordinary crises.

"But the way in which we are alive is meaningful," Updike says, "and it does have a certain radiance — the beauty of the actual. That's what I keep pushing at."

Updike is the author of more than 50 books, most recently Due Considerations, Licks of Love, Villages and Terrorist. He is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize and has received the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

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