Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Even witches mellow with age

  • Michiko reviews Updike's new sequel to The Witches of Eastwick in The New York Times.
I had no idea that this was coming out. The second surprise is that she gives it a more or less positive review.
The passage of time seems to have mellowed the witches and their creator as well, and “The Widows of Eastwick,” while deeply flawed, is a less tendentious, more emotionally credible work than its predecessor. Mr. Updike is less interested here in scoring didactic points against feminism than he is in exploring the wages of time and age shared by men and women alike, and there is an elegiac tone to the novel not dissimilar to that in the last Rabbit novel, “Rabbit at Rest” (1990). The mood here reflects his characters’ realization that the past now weighs more than the future in the scale of their lives, and that the noisy imperatives of sex, which once got them in to so much trouble, have given way to whispered worries about bodily ailments and medical woes.

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