The roller-coaster that was The Woman in the Window by A.J Finn
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
Published by William Morrow on 2nd January 2018
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
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Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.
Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.
What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.
Wow! So I have finished the book… took me longer than I had thought, (headaches have prevented this) but what a roller-coaster of a ride! I read this on the back of The Woman in cabin 10 and the Girl on the train, where the theme of unreliable drunk women narrators seems to be the hot topic of the moment.
Personally, I was gripped from the opening pages, the fast pace of the book was just the right speed to keep the reader intrigued, and I was guilty of trying to skip ahead to find out what happened next….and then going back to re-read what I had missed.
I do not have much experience of agoraphobia but I can imagine how debilitating it can be and I felt that you lived the fear of leaving the house with Anna as she tries to go outside and the panic attacks that ensue. She spends her days drinking, watching black and white movies, on her forums where she “promote healing and well-being”, but also she watches people from her window. This is where the problems begin. The Russell’s move in and she watches them, the husband Alistair, the son Ethan and the wife Jane (to be honest I think everyone is guilty of a bit of people watching from the window).
One night she witnesses a murder from her window, but as an unreliable narrator..did she actually witness something, or was it in the cocktail of drink and drugs haze all make believe, and as can be expected no one believes.
This is a story of a woman dealing with something from her past and her denial to the past that affects her present life. You are engulfed in her feelings, sorrow and most importantly the isolated life she lives. Contact with actual people is rare, communicating mainly on the phone or online in forums. However, there are times in the book where you just want to shout at Anna and make her wake up!! It took her about 85% of the book for Anna to remember a photo she took back at the beginning about 18% of the book, so I did have to shout at her to remember, obviously getting me nowhere, because you know she’s a character in a book.
I felt there was a personal passion of Hitchcock and Black and White films by the author, and how the quotes from the film fitted directly in with Anna’s current situation and mood. One of my favourites was from Shadow of a Doubt by Hitchcock
“You live in a dream,” sneers Uncle Charlie. “You’re a sleepwalker, blind. How do you know what the world is like? Do you know, if you rip off the fronts of houses, you’d find swine? Use your wits. Learn something”
To me, this quote resonated throughout the entire reading. Due to her denial, guilt, agoraphobia, drinking and drugs she is sleepwalking through her life, not quite existing in the real world and living life through movies. We, the reader, are trying to constantly learn something in this book, and with an unreliable narrator, it is hard to learn anything. Anna lets us know when it is time to learn things, but also Anna herself knows she is unreliable so how can she even know what the truth is and what she must learn. When we got to a reveal (no spoiler here) I had to put the book down and say night for a short time, something I rarely do because I wanted to let it sink in what I had just read. I wasn’t ready for it!
I would definitely recommend this book to everyone! It is a thriller that keeps you going but with the softer touches of realism to make this book believable.
The world is a beautiful place, she said. Don’t forget that, and don’t miss it, she said
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: