Abigail sees the women of Salthill, her sisters: all of them beautiful. Strange, that all are beautiful. The plain have been transformed into beauties by the magic of affluence. … Meringue hair, glaring cosmetic faces, piranha smiles, jewels that wink like semaphore signals. That commingled drunken smell of myriad perfumes.
Doesn’t Joyce Carol Oates nail it? Aren’t you transported to this country club ladies luncheon?
This is from Middle Age: A Romance (2001).
Given the prominence of assorted female characters in this tale, and the pivot of a male character, I keep thinking of John Updike’s 1984 The Witches of Eastwick, although the tales are quite dissimilar.