Books: Fruits of Blossoming Selfhood

THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK by John Updike; Knopf; 336 pages; $15.95

Over the years some critics have charged that Author John Updike consistently slights his fictional females, making them interesting only insofar as they arouse or comfort men. Updike's eleventh novel does not seem designed to appease his accusers; indeed, it looks a lot like a gauntlet flung down at feminism. Readers should get ready for a particularly hot summer. Some of the squawking at beaches will be coming not from seagulls but from liberated ladies and gents who are reading The Witches of Eastwick.

The time is the late 1960s and the...

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