Saturday, August 22, 2009

Karen's Review, *The Widows of Eastwick, *John Updike

Oops, just realized that I forgot to review The Widows of Eastwick. It was a few weeks ago, so here are my surviving impressions:

--John Updike has a funny relationship with commas, which he later proves is a deliberate style choice by putting in an "excerpt" of Suki's novel.

--Updike is funny, but you have to want it. I find that I have to be actively imagining a robust character, otherwise I'm unaffected by the story. It's like you have to choose to BE in Eastwick with the characters of your own accord, because they don't give enough of a shit about you to convince you.

--Even a legendary author is not immune to bad jacket copy. The widows weren't railing against conformity in any way. Sorry, but no, they weren't. If anything, they were trying to find their way back to conformity, helping people procreate, fixing body parts, trying not to die (seeking equilibrium and a conformity in their physical selves!), trying to make amends in their own way. There are two sides to conformity: there's the square peg/round hole aspect of conformity, which is bad, and there's the moderation and normalcy side of conformity, which can be good; it's how we know whether we've got a problem. Conformity can be where we seek balance, and I think the desire for balance is one of the themes of the novel.


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