Go ahead and guess. You know you want to.
Is it one of the novels (or short story cycles) featuring the irascible and irrepressible Henry Bech, Updike’s Jewish-writer alter ego?
Is it The Coup, Updike’s satire of American overconsumption and African dictators?
Is it one of Updike’s so-called Scarlet Letter trilogy–the commune exploits of S. or the punitive desert retreat to which that serial philanderer Tom Marshfield was sentenced that held comic forth in A Month of Sundays?
Nope. In the estimation of the folks at ShortList, it’s Updike’s Hawthornesque romp The Witches of Eastwick, which comes in at No. 13 on their list.
“The big screen adaptation is naturally hilarious,” ShortList writes, “but Updike’s original source material is a wonderful exercise in satire. Three women in the Rhode Island town of Eastwick acquire witch-like powers after being spurned by their husbands. Swearing to wreak vengeance they run amok until the mysterious appearance of Darryl Van Horne. What follows is high farce and social satire rolled into one. Mischievous doesn’t begin to cover it.”